By: Adam Johnson
Tonight’s loss was another heartbreaker for the Hounds (6-3), as they saw yet another late inning lead dissipate to the Northwest Indiana Oilmen (7-2), falling by a score of 6-5. For the second game in a row against NWI, the Hounds fell victim to one bad inning late in the contest that ultimately washed their hard fought lead away. Last game, the Hounds saw the 7th inning get away from them and tonight it was the 8th. Overall, the Hounds played a solid game all around, they just once again fell victim to the red hot Oilmen bats that seem to come alive when the game is on line. With this loss, the Hounds fall to 2nd place in the MCL standings and the Oilmen now gain sole possession of 1st place for the first time this season.
NWI jumped out to an early one run lead in the bottom of the first when Hound killer, Stefano Belmonte stepped to the plate and smacked a screaming line drive to center field, allowing Brad Wood to come around and score.
The Hounds did not answer back until the top of the third inning when Dustin Krob flew out to deep right center, allowing Michael Wisz to tag up and score easily from third. Later that inning, Billy Hayes moved himself into scoring position, advancing from first to third when he stole second and then took third on a ball in the dirt a few pitches later. Hayes’ heads up base running allowed him to score on the Richie Gorski groundout, pushing the score to 2-1.
The Oilmen answered right back in the bottom half of the inning when Xavier Warren scored on the Jordan Lewis seeing eye single that slipped in the hole between first and second base, knotting the game up at 2-2.
The Hounds reclaimed the lead in the sixth, scoring two runs on a Shane Carrier single to left that drove in Joe Duncan from third and Zac Taylor from second, putting them back up 4-2.
NWI started their comeback in the seventh when they chipped down the two run deficit by scoring one run on an Alec Olund sac fly that plated Fred Smart. Joe Jumonville tied the game up at 4-4 in the eighth on single to right that brought Belmonte in from third. The eighth inning hit parade continued as Smart singled to left, plating Zack Jones. The sixth and final Oilmen run came on a Warren groundout that was deep enough in the hole that Jumonville could score from third without a play.
In the top half of the ninth, the Hounds scored one run after Wisz reached on a booming triple and Hayes drove in the run when he grounded out to the shortstop, but their efforts were ultimately halted, falling short by one run.
The Oilmen batters continue to kill Hounds’ pitching by hitting efficiently with runners on base and the NWI batsmen are being extremely patient at the plate, not being afraid to take a walk. Noah Masa took the mound for the third time this season and gave the Hounds a quality four innings, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out two. Trent Carrier, who is usually the Hounds’ regular first baseman and three-hole hitter, threw the other four innings. Carrier’s stuff was also good, the Oilmen bats were just better as he gave up four runs on seven hits and struck out one.
Christian Howell and Jimmy Skiff took the bump for the opposition. Howell started the game and went a strong six innings, giving up four runs on four hits and striking out a game high eight batters. Skiff, a familiar face out of the NWI bullpen pitched the final three innings, only allowing one run on two hits while striking out five.
The Hounds’ next game will be Wednesday, June 17th at the Lemont High School Sports Complex against the Southland Vikings at 5:00 PM (CT). The Hounds are 1-0 on the season against the Vikings, previously beating them by a whopping score of 10-4 on 6/9. Southland will come into tomorrow’s game with a record of 2-3, with their most recent game being last Tuesday’s game against the Hounds. The Vikings fell victim to the harsh Chicagoland weather that ultimately washed out their last three MCL games, making tomorrow their first game in eight days.
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