Panthers Lose High-Scoring Classic to Generals

Photo Credit: Ethan Levy
07/21/2022 10:05 PM -

In the highest scoring game in the Northern League this season featuring a ferocious comeback, the Crestwood Panthers ultimately fell short to the Joliet Generals in seven innings.  

The game started out routine as the Panthers led 3-2 heading into the fourth before the floodgates opened. The Generals scored five runs in the fourth and nine in the fifth to take a 16-3 lead before the Panthers stunned the ballpark with a 14-run bottom of the fifth to take a 17-16 lead. Both teams continued to trade punches, but the Generals ultimately prevailed 23-20 after a six-run seventh.  

“I truly don’t know what happened.” Head coach D’Vante Glenn said, “Both teams were just hitting the ball, and that is good baseball.”  

After falling behind 1-0 in the first, Peter Fusek was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the second, and Jimmy Gurgone broke the tie one batter later with a two-RBI single. However, the Generals would score 15 unanswered runs to seemingly put the game out of reach. Then the bottom of the fifth inning happened.  

The first four Panthers up to bat in the inning, Gurgone, Hobbs Dunne, Keshawn Peeples and Ray Hilbrich would come around to score on two RBI singles (by Dunne and Peeples) and a little-league home run by Hilbrich to make it 16-7. After Brandon Simon flew out, the Panthers batted through the entire lineup without making a single out.  

Adrian Swiech drove General’s starter Will Frisch out of the ballgame with a two-run home run to make it 16-9. Dunne had his second RBI hit of the inning, this time a two-run double to make it 16-11. Peeples would reach on an error to make it 16-12, and Simon walked with the bases loaded to make it 16-13.  

With two outs and the bases loaded, Swiech came up again and tattooed a pitch from General’s pitcher Dino Biggers over the left-center field fence to cap off the incredible comeback and make it 17-16. In total, the Panthers scored 14 runs on nine hits in the inning. Swiech had all six of his RBIs in that inning.  

“We have always battled back from behind.” Glenn said, “We just happened to put a lot up in that one inning.”  

After the Generals tied it in the sixth, the Panther responded in the bottom half. Peeples doubled over Michael Gould’s head in center field to score Fusek and Gurgone to make it 19-17, and Hilbrich singled in people to make it 20-17.  

Before the seventh, with darkness closing in, both teams agreed to end the contest after seven innings. The Generals scored one run and loaded the bases with one out for Anthony Stellato. He grounded a ball that seemed to be destined for Maurey Garret at second base, but it bounced over his head into the gap to clear the bases.  

That proved to be the winning hit as the Generals won 23-20. Overall, all 18 offensive players had at least one base hit, and 16 of them had at least one RBI. Eight of the nine players for Crestwood had at least two hits on the day.  

The Panthers are off on Friday before traveling to Oil City Stadium in Whiting, Indiana on Saturday to play the Oilmen at 6:10 p.m. It will be the first matchup of the season between the two at Oil City, and the first game the two have played since June 7th.  

For the full box score, visit the Northern League Pointstreak page: