06/21/2017 8:29 PM -
WHITING, Ind. – June 22, 2017 – Wednesday night, Oil City Stadium saw its third walk-off win of the season when the Northwest Indiana Oilmen overcame two deficits and a lost lead to defeat the Bloomington Bobcats, 9-8. This time, it was a hit batter with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth which clinched the dogfight of a game and improved NWI to 12-9 on the 2017 season.
The Oilmen may have won the game, but they did not deliver the first blow. After the Bobcats scored 19 at Oil City Stadium less than a week ago, Bloomington got its scoring started this time with some help from NWI. After a pair of walks from Oilmen starter Max Franklin put runners on first and second. An error by Danny Torres in his first game as an Oilmen scored Addison Fugitt and Justin Diaz to put the Bobcats on the board. Bloomington added another run in the inning, and Northwest Indiana was done three before it had gotten to the plate.
“With the first error, Danny hasn’t played in a long time.” Coach Adam Enright said. “He’s been hurt. He hurt his knee in January and redshirted this year. He made an error early in the game in his first attempt in a game in quite some time. I wouldn’t say it’s excusable, but it’s understandable. Then he got three hits, so he made up for it.”
The Oilmen would go on to make four errors in the field, but the bats continued to make up for it. Torres fouled off five straight in the top of the second before singling to jumpstart the Oilmen offense. Later, a bases loaded walk followed by a two-RBI double from Tommy Farrell tied the game again.
The Oilmen offense would barely have time to wipe the sweat off before the Bobcats gave them more work. Bloomington scored two more in the top of the third and retook the lead, 5-3, but NWI’s offense wasn’t going away either. The Oilmen scored a run in third and then two more in each the fourth and fifth innings to grab an 8-5 advantage, their first of the game.
The game moved along quickly until the eighth, when the Bobcats scored two more runs to bring the game back within one. Down to its last strike in the ninth, Bloomington hit a ground ball to shortstop Jack Ciombor which he wildly threw to first. The ball got by Tommy Farrell, and the tying run scored. Adam Enright was not happy the game didn’t end there.
“We had a really slowly hit high chopper that he didn’t immediately charge,” Enright said. “He just kind of sat back and let it get to him. That made the timing of the play impossible trying to get the out at first. Then, with the throw, Tommy needs to understand that there’s no chance the ball is going to get over to first. When he sees that it’s going to be low he can go get it and block it up and not stay on the base to take it. [The runner] is already three steps past the bag. That one scoring the run was really the only one that needs to be cleaned up.”
The Oilmen missed an opportunity to win the game, but saw another one in the bottom of the ninth. Amir Wright and Alec Olund both walked, and a single from Farrell in the middle of the two walks loaded the bases with just one out. On the first pitch of the next at bat, Bobcat pitcher Sammy Gordon hit Blake Cleveland to score the winning run. It wasn’t the heroic ending the Oilmen fans may have preferred, but it’s a win.
“They were determined to get this stretch of games started on the right foot,” Enright said. “We want to get a win every day that we can, and then move on to the next day and keep that one day at a time mentality and string it together and win some games.”
Rory Gard got the win, while reliever Caleb Jacobs took the loss for Bloomington. The Oilmen are now 12-9 this season and are back at Oil City Stadium Wednesday for a game against the Southland Vikings.
To see the box score from today's game, click on "Download Attachment".