06/25/2019 11:02 PM -
-By Sam Oppenheim
Joliet, Ill - June 26, 2019 - After playing a full nine innings, the Joliet Generals and Southland Vikings were tied at ten. In the following inning, both teams combined to score almost ten runs.
The Generals leaped ahead 15-10 after putting a five spot on the board in the top of the tenth. The Vikings answered with four runs in the bottom of the tenth, but Joliet held on for a dramatic 15-14 win.
In total, there were six lead changes in the game.
After the Generals got on the board in the top of the first, Southland answered with three runs off Joliet right hander Jake Ostrowski (Joliet JC / Lockport, Ill). Later in the fourth, the Generals took a 5-4 lead after RBI singles by Nick McAlister (Southern Illinois / Homewood, Ill.) and Connor Olson (Illinois Wesleyan / Wheaton, Ill.), along with a sacrifice fly from Danny Borgstrom (University of Evansville / Morris, Ill.).
Once again, the Vikings fought fire with fire. Southland took the lead again, scoring two runs in the bottom of the frame. They added another run in the fifth to extend their lead to 7-5. In the next half inning, Joliet managed to push a run across before Chris Broccolino (Robert Morris - Illinois / Schaumburg, Ill.) came to the plate. On the first pitch he saw, Broccolino launched a two-run moonshot to straightaway centerfield. He knew it was gone right off the bat.
“Honestly, I thought if anyone got it up in the air it was going to go,” said Broccolino. “I definitely barreled it and was able to see it fly, so it felt good.”
The Generals grabbed an insurance run two innings later in the top of the eighth. That 9-7 lead was short lived. Despite having just one hit in the inning, the Vikings scored three runs to take a 10-9 lead in the ninth. But sticking with the theme of tonight’s game, a comeback was in order. Facing Vikings closer Trey Ricko, Joliet outfielder Bryant Diel (Triton College / South Elgin, Ill.) led off the inning with a double. After stealing third, Diel scored on a sacrifice fly by Connor Pasko (Triton College / Willow Springs, Ill.) to tie the game at ten.
After keeping Southland off the board in the bottom of the ninth, the game went into extra innings. And the Generals offense continued to churn. Borgstrom lead off the inning with a double, followed by consecutive singles by Olson and Broccolino. Devin Buckner (Morehead State / Lexington, Ky.) was hit by a pitch then Diel grabbed his second hit off Ricko with a single. Will Krushena (Denison University / Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) put an exclamation point on the inning, with a two-RBI double to make it 15-10. That blow knocked Ricko out of the game.
Despite the monumental five runs scored by the Generals in the top of the inning, the Vikings did not go away at all. Seth Quick (Triton College / Lombard, Ill.) got two outs on three pitches to start the frame. Then, Southland rallied with two outs.
Back-to-back singles followed by an error loaded the bases. Then, Vikings shortstop Dashon Moore cleared the bases with three-RBI double. The next batter, Max Malley, hit a ball on the ground over on the left side. Pasko could not field the ball properly and Moore came into score. However, Malley initially tried to advance to second on the throw, but was then caught in a rundown when the throw was cut off. Krushena tagged Malley out to end the game.
“The defense was breaking down, but I still believed in them,” Quick said. “I’m not trying to do it on my own because that’s when I get shelled.”
All four runs Quick gave up were unearned. Fortunately, he had significant run support behind him.
“Our bats really helped us out in this one,” Generals manager Matt Vitulli said.
Overall, Joliet had five players with two RBIs. Vitulli says that represents the offensive depth the Generals have at their disposal.
“One through nine we’re pretty tough,” Vitulli said. “We have guys that can really swing the bat, especially in the middle of the lineup.”
Vitulli cited pitching and defense as the areas the team has the most room for improvement. With the win, Joliet improves to 4-6 on the season. The Generals have a chance to make it two in a row on Wednesday against the DuPage County Hounds. First pitch is at 5 p.m. from Lemont HS and the game will be broadcasted on the Joliet Generals Broadcasting Network.