The visiting Glasgow Galaxy, and defending national champions, travelled north to take on the second place Granite City Oilers. With the sun beating down and temperatures reaching into the mid-20’s, Sundays top of the table match up was setting itself up to be a scorcher. But no matter the heat or sunshine, the Oilers fan base turned out in force to hopefully cheer their team on to victory.
Glasgow would get things started in the top of the first when veteran Luke Powell drove in a run with a single on 1-1 count. Lass Kobani got the start on the mound for the Oilers and would surrender five walks in the inning, giving up two more runs, but finished strong with a pair of strikeouts to limit the damage to three runs in the first.
Evaldas Grinys, a second-year man to the league like his counterpart, got the start for the Galaxy on the mound. After getting the first batter to ground out, he walked the bases loaded which gave way to a Brennan Martin single to bring in the Oilers first run of the game. However, the bats would fall silent for the rest of the inning with Grinys striking out the next two batters in order ending the inning 3-1 to the Galaxy.
The with sun starting to take its toll on players, the starting pitcher for the Oilers continued to struggle to find the strike zone in the second inning. Veteran pitcher and team captain Stephen Evans would take the mound in relief. Evans would also struggle to find the strike zone early on, walking in a runner. After settling in, he would strike out fellow pitcher Grinys to record the first out of the inning. Luke Powell would single yet again to drive in another run making the score 10-1. During the next at bat, miscues on the bases would result in the runner on first base being picked off for the second out of the inning. Jim Sehar, one of last seasons final contenders for League MVP, would ground out to the pitcher to end the inning but the damage had already been done.
With the score 10-1 going into the bottom of the second, the only thing looking bright for the Oilers was the blazing sun now pushing temperatures into the upper 20’s. Nevertheless, this only served to lite a fire under the Oilers and they came out determined in the bottom half of the inning.
Catcher Chris Mackay would lead off the inning with a walk. Mafe Mastrocesare would then single and following a pitch in the dirt the next at bat, both runners moved into scoring position. Both Ross Crawford and Abraham Izazaga would draw walks with the latter walk scoring a much-needed run for the Oilers. Next to the plate was slugger David Johnson who singled to centre to score Mastrocesare and Crawford. Oilers skipper Evans would draw his second walk of the day to load the bases yet again. Brennan Martin would double to left field, scoring two more runs and making the score now 10-6. The Oilers bats had come to life and at the perfect time. After batting through the line-up in the bottom of the inning, the Oilers would add 8 more runs on four walks, 4 singles, and a double to end the inning. For the first time in the game, the Oilers now had the lead at 14-10.
After the exciting second inning, this game was shaping up to be a shootout. Veteran Ace Stephen Evans would have other plans as he would go three up three down on two groundouts and a strikeout. Grinys would settle in as well, striking out two and inducing a ground ball to end the third with the score still 14-10.
The next two innings would go much like the third except for the bottom of the fifth, when a dropped strike three and a bit of confusion allowed the inning to continue for the Oilers with Izazaga reaching first on the play and Mastrocesare advancing to third. David Johnson would then single on a line drive to centre driving in his fifth RBI of the day. With a bit of miscommunication in the field, Izazaga would attempt to take home but was ultimately thrown out with a good throw from the shortstop on a bang-bang play at the plate to end the inning.
Down to the last inning due to a previously agreed upon time limit, the Galaxy would launch one last attempt to take the lead. The Oilers defense would prove to impregnable and the Galaxy would go three-up three-down to end the game. The final score Oilers 15 Galaxy 10.
With the victory the Granite City Oilers now own the head-to-head against the Galaxy and move into first place in the league.
Glasgow would finish the day with 10 runs on 2 hits, and 1 error, while the Oilers would finish with 15 runs on 10 hits, and 0 errors.
GRANITE CITY OILERS – @Edinburgh Giants on July 29th at 12pm (Double Header)
GLASGOW GALAXY – @Edinburgh Diamond Devils on August 5th at 1pm