Late-game rallies are nothing new for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen. On Wednesday evening, the Oilmen needed exactly that in a well-pitched game for both teams.
With no runs in the first seven innings, the Oilmen had to dig deep in a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Michigan City Lakers.
It was Leiff Clarkson's two-run single in the eighth inning that plated Lowell grad Craig Austgen and Anthony Bova that finally sparked some life into the offense and ended the frustration for the Oilmen (15-6).
Andrean grad Kenny Mahala scored in the top of the ninth inning to account for the winning run.
“I didn't really feel any pressure,” Clarkson said. “I just tried to stay calm and stay focused. I was trying to get a good pitch to hit and came through.”
Oilmen coach Justin Huisman could sense the frustration the offense was feeling with their inability to hit Lakers starter Kyle Marburger, who had seven strikeouts.
“He did a good job,” Huisman said. “He had a curveball he was throwing for strikes and taking just enough off of it to get guys off balance. They were getting a little frustrated. That's baseball, and that's going to happen. Luckily, we pulled this game out.”
Munster grad Scott Jerge didn't have his best stuff on the mound as the starter for the Oilmen. He walked five and hit a batter in just 1 2/3 innings of work.
The relief pitching, however, was outstanding. Joe Cochran, Andrean's Mike Hanchar, Gavit's Aveeno Nasiloski and Bishop Noll's Matt Pobereyko combined for 7 1/3 innings of scoreless play. It was exactly what the Oilmen needed in a tightly-contested game.
“I trust anybody out there, whether it's starting a ballgame, in the middle of a ballgame or finishing a ballgame,” Huisman said. “Good pitching is good pitching, and as long as they're mentally prepared to handle the role for that particular day, they're going to do well.”
LaPorte grad Nick Latham went 2-for-4 with a double for the Lakers.