By Andrew Mild
The only time a story has ever worked out like this was in Hollywood. Let’s set the scene. The Corn Dogs suffered a tough 5-4 loss on the road the day before and returned home against their Lake County rivals, the NWI Oilmen. The Corn Dogs needed a win to secure the Northern League regular season championship in the first year as a franchise. This was playoff baseball two weeks before the playoffs.
The Corn Dogs struck first, plating two runs in the fourth inning. Scott Hansen’s two-RBI single drove in Donavan Noble and Roman Kuntz. This hit and two RBIs gave Hansen an 11-game hitting streak, and he has a seven-game RBI streak going.
On to the sixth where the Oilmen score twice on walks that would tie the game at 2-2. But the Corn Dogs took lead right back, thanks to “Superman” – and Macron Player of the Game — Hayden Matulitch, who punched a ball into right centerfield to take the 4-2 lead. Then, Gavin Terry would work a walk to make the game 5-2.
Matulitch would win the Macron Player of the Game for the hit.
The Oilmen did not go away though, as Cain Headrick doubled in Jack Zebig, and there the tying run was on second base. But pitcher Tyler Schultz got the out to end the inning and keep the Corn Dogs lead at 5-3.
The Oilmen got within a run of the Corn Dogs, and the game – and regular season title – came down to the ninth inning.
Manager Justin Huisman sent Bret Matthys to the mound to close the game. It started with two fly-outs to center – Gavin Terry showing off his wheels and the Corn Dogs are one out away from securing a title.
Connor Misch was the last hitter between the Dogs and that championship. The count hit 2-2 and Matthys received a check swing grounder, got the ball over to Doug Loden at first to end the contest and clinch first place for the Corn Dogs.
Peyton Olejinik gets the win, Matthys the save. The Corn Dogs are now 31-11 and are the 2022 Northern League Regular Season Champion.
Corn Dogs play Tuesday on the road before a four-game (Wednesday – Saturday) home stand to finish the season.
Experience the Corn Dogs before the season is over! Purchase tickets at corndogsbaseball.com.
Photo by Josh Brunette