May 28, 2023

Corn Dogs Complete Sweep Over Oilmen with Thrilling 12-11 Victory in the 10th

By Noel Fary

The Lake County Corn Dogs have carried over their winning ways from last year’s championship run, starting the 2023 Northern League season with a three-game series sweep of the rivaled NWI Oilmen.

On Saturday at Legacy Fields in Crown Point, IN, the Corn Dogs came from back from an early 7-0 deficit for a thrilling bottom-of-the-tenth-inning victory.

Base running awareness won the game in the tenth when Scott Hansen took advantage of a dropped ball that got away from the Oilmen, hustling home to walk off the series sweep in dramatic fashion.

The Corn Dogs got into trouble early in the game. Starting pitcher David Zaragoza allowed seven runs on three hits through the first two innings. But Dylan Matusak came in and delivered two straight scoreless innings, with four strikeouts and no walks.

Manager Justin Huisman kept faith in his bullpen, which gave the Corn Dogs the chance to get back into the game.

“I knew we had guys who could put zeros on the board,” Huisman said.

The top of the Corn Dogs’ batting order strung together two hits and a walk that got them on the board. Then the flood gates opened. Innings 3-5 saw every Corn Dog batter getting a hit, triggering an eight-run explosion. Seven straight singles in the fifth inning brought five runs across the plate, and the Corn Dogs had the lead.

The Oilmen were not finished scoring, as singles from Nick Daugherty and Ryan Little regained the lead in the sixth and challenged the Corn Dog’s offense to answer back.

Macron Player of the Game Ray Hilbrich had the response in the ninth, crushing a three-run homer high over the right field wall to tie the game at 11-11 and push it into extra innings. Hilbrich finished the game three for six with two home runs and a triple.

Corn Dogs Owner Ralph Flores had complete confidence in his 3-0 team and never believed they were out of it.

“It’s just like last year,” said Flores, thanking the fans for the great attendance and support over the series. “I knew we were going to come back the entire game.”

The Corn Dogs next play Tuesday when they take on the Griffith Generals in their first away game of the season.

Photo caption: Drayk Bowen, middle linebacker for the University of Notre Dame, digs in at the plate.

Photo by Josh Brunette.


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