07/13/2023 10:50 PM -
WHITING, Ind. – The Griffith Generals remain the kryptonite of the Northwest Indiana Oilmen, as they vanquished the hometown squad by a score of 6-3 in 11 innings. It was a pitching duel throughout, as starters Rodney Lester and Tyler Laux only gave up a combined one run in 13 innings pitched. The Generals found their stride down 3-0 going into the ninth.
Connor Spear came in to try and save the game for the Oilmen, but the Generals scored three runs before he could record an out. The big hit was a Nic Altobelli single with the bases loaded that scored two runs. The Generals held the Oilmen in the ninth, and the game stretched all the way to the 11th.
The marathon was taxing on both pitching staffs, especially the Oilmen. They were forced to use position players Graham Mastros and Ryan Little in extra innings. On the Generals side, Jimmy Fairley, a usual starter, was tapped for three innings. Not only did Fairley not allow a run on the mound, he drove in the game-winning run - in his first college at bat.
The Oilmen loaded the bases with no outs in the 11th. With the defensive shuffling, Fairley ended up in the three-hole holding a bat in his hand so he could return to the mound. With position player Ryan Little dealing to the Generals pitcher, Fairley took a swing so big that the bat flew out of his hand and nearly hit Bryce Vorwald at third. The Generals were all smiles about the moment, as coach Peter Romsek said after the game that he “called him throwing the bat.”
With a full count, Fairley needed to have a disciplined eye to keep the runners moving. Little dealt a good pitchers pitch in on the hands of Fairley, but it was held off for ball four, and the go-ahead run crossed the plate. Kyler Lapp and Ronnie Nowak followed up with RBI walks of their own, and the Generals won the game 6-3 after Jimmy Fairley held the line in the ninth to secure the win.
Fairley was open about his role in the game, saying, “I didn’t think I was gonna throw, but I got in a rhythm and had fun. First AB in college, so that was awesome.” After pausing momentarily, he asked, “Was that an RBI?” Indeed it was. The game-winning RBI. Not bad for your first college-level plate appearance.
Romsek praised his squad on their resilience, giving props to Altobelli for coming up with the big hit in the ninth after a medical procedure sidelined him for the previous couple of days: “It was a really good ball game. Props to Altobelli for having big hits off of wisdom teeth surgery. Big clutch hitting from him. Good resilience by the guys to stay in it and outlast them. They ran out of pitching, and we took advantage.”
The Generals are just 3-8 in their last 11 games, but all three wins are against the Oilmen. Griffith will try to push the season series to a 4-2 advantage tomorrow night when they return to Whiting. The game starts at 7:10 p.m.