06/24/2018 5:27 PM -
-By Sam Oppenheim
The last time the Joliet Generals played against the 2-15 Crestwood Panthers, they won 13-0. Today, Generals manager Joe Hernandez elected to rest some of his starters. What resulted was a sluggish effort in the early and middle innings. And despite sending the game into extra innings in a heroic 9th inning effort, Joliet could not make it work in the end.
Today, the Generals lost 10-9 in ten innings after being unable to make an extra-inning comeback.
Through five innings, Joliet was in a good position to win the game. The Generals led the Panthers 4-3 at that point. Jordan Baker looked strong in his first start of the season, giving up three hits and three runs in five innings of work. What followed him was less than successful.
In the 6th, Jacob Diaz gave up five runs, three of them earned, thanks in part to three wild pitches. He exited after one inning throwing a staggering 39 pitches. In relief of Diaz came Alex Herbst. Herbst worked steadily, as he threw three innings and only allowed one hit. Then, the chaos began again. In the 10th, Mitchell Schroll threw just eight pitches on the mound, walking both batters on four pitches, before being taking out by Hernandez.
“Pitchers have to throw strikes, compete and work on what their pitches are,” said Hernandez.
Offensively, the Generals came alive in the bottom of the ninth, thanks to some different hitters. Down 8-4, Jeremiah Lebron led off the inning with a double to the fence. After an RBI single by Jimmy Day, Joe Scaffidi came up to the plate with the bases loaded down by three runs. Scaffidi hit a blooper in the centerfield that Panthers outfielder Colton Rydlewski dove for. The outfielder missed the ball completely and all three base runners scored. Lebron, Day and Scaffidi all came into the game in the later innings. But that has no effect on Hernandez’s message.
“If you’re on this roster you should be able to be out there battling to win,” said Hernandez. “As the manager, I have to make adjustments that I see fit to help the team win.”
In the 10th, Schroll walked two batters and then Brock Budzielek hit Panthers first baseman John Plattner with his first pitch in relief to load the bases. But, Budzielek got Panthers catcher to ground out into a 5-2-3 double play. But, Joliet was not out of the woods just yet. The next batter, Rydlewski, who had made a critical mistake in the last inning, hit a two-RBI triple to give Crestwood the lead.
The bottom of the half of the inning resulted in some more successful for the Generals offensively, but was not enough. After leadoff batter Harrison Hayes scored on an error, Bryce Cross came up to bat down by one with runners on first and second. The second baseman could not get the lumber off his back and took a called strike three to end the game. That was the Generals 12th strikeout of the game.
“Our strikeouts are way too high,” said Hernandez. “In my eyes, it’s no longer acceptance.”
Joliet has Monday off before an opportunity to bounce back against a very hot Oilmen team. Northwest Indiana has won eight straight after beating Southland tonight. The game will be broadcasted on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen Facebook Page with Dan Harty and Sam Oppenheim on the call.