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Bellinger Paves the Way to Victory



First place was up for grabs tonight at the Dog Pound. When news broke out that the Southland Vikings defeated the Joliet Admirals 7-1, the Hounds and the Vikings were tied at the top of the MCL.


With Patrick Bellinger on the mound, the Hounds (25-12) would regain their half-game lead over the Vikings with an 8-4 win over the Northwest Indiana Oilmen (21-14).


Bellinger was unstoppable early on. The right-handed ace retired the first nine batters he faced, while carrying a no-hit bid for 5.2 innings. Bellinger’s effort deserved a win, and his offense guaranteed it would happen.


The Hounds put four on the board in the second inning. Frankie Perrone started things off with a double and later scored when Alex Cain’s shot into center went off the glove of Larry Crisler. Crisler was credited with an error, the first of five for the Oilmen, and the Hounds took the lead.


With the bases loaded later on, Connor Kopach doubled into right-center and cleared the bases to extend the lead to 4-0.


In the third, Trent Carrier added to the lead when his single scored Frankie Perrone. Brian Lees put another run on the board in the fourth when he singled in Emerson Misch. The Hounds led 6-0 through four and could already smell the victory.


Nick Nauracy, the starter for the Oilmen, was tagged with the loss, but only credited for three earned runs in his five innings of work. The Hounds took advantage of the opportunities created by the Oilmen errors and scored four unearned runs.


The Oilmen, facing a 7-0 deficit in the sixth, put their first runs on the board after Patrick Bellinger loaded the bases. Zack Jones would pull through with a single into right that scored two and ended Bellinger's outing. That was the Oilmen’s first of only three hits.


Nick Martin would come on to relieve Bellinger in the sixth inning. Martin would throw 2.1 innings, giving up two hits and an earned run in the eighth inning.


In the ninth, the Hounds turned to the youngsters to close things out. Tyler Hasper started off the inning on the mound, but after three walks loaded the bases, Nick McKinney was brought on with two outs.


McKinney would walk Jason Gasser to bring the game to 8-4, but he would prevail against Larry Crisler, as he grounded out to end the game.


The Hounds have three games remaining in the regular season of the MCL. They will be in action again today in Joliet when they will face the Admirals at 5:00 PM. The Hounds will close out the regular season at home this weekend.


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