07/06/2019 4:54 PM -
-By Sam Oppenheim
Midlothian, Ill. - July 6, 2019 - In a stretch that has seen the Joliet Generals offense catch fire, today was a bit different.
Down 4-1 entering the seventh inning, the Generals struck for three runs off of the Crestwood Panthers to tie the game. Two innings later, Joliet put a crooked five on the board to beat the Panthers 9-4 at Howie Minas Field.
To lead off the final inning, Rocco Pascente (College of DuPage / Plainfield, Ill.) was hit by a pitch. Then, Daniel Fierro (San Diego Mesa CC / Braidwood, Ill.) laid down a sacrifice bunt. With the third baseman out of position, Pascente hustled to make it all the way to third. Anthony Jerez (Robert Morris - Illinois / Brooklyn, N.Y.) singled to bring in Pascente for the go-ahead run.
But the Generals were not done yet. After a single by Nick McAlister (Southern Illinois / Homewood, Ill.) and Ben Jung (UW-Oshkosh / Downers Grove, Ill.) reaching on an error, a sacrifice fly by Connor Olson (Elgin CC / Wheaton, Ill.) brought in Jerez and moved everyone else up a base. Two wild pitches courtesy of Crestwood right hander Michael Kokoszka scored McAlister and Jung. Joliet added another run later in the inning thanks to a Panthers wild pitch and then an error. In total, the Generals scored five in the ninth.
It was not the strongest game for Joliet, who left a whopping 14 runners on base. However, Joliet manager Matt Vitulli acknowledges the toughness and mental fortitude of his players to keep pushing.
“We have a full team of grinders, guys who want to compete out there,” Vitulli said. “Today is proof of that.”
The Generals have won six of their last seven games. On Sunday, Joliet takes on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen. First pitch is at 4:10 from Whiting, Ind. It will be Bark in the Park Day at Oil City Stadium, so fans are encouraged to bring their furry friends. The game will also be broadcasted on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen Broadcasting Network.