Story by: Jay Sanchez
Pitching and defense are the Joliet Admirals’ “X” factors for success this season, according to the team’s manager Jorge Garza. It’s what kept them in the game Thursday in their season opener, however, the team’s pitching and defense didn’t come through Friday night as the Northwest Indiana Oilmen defeated the Admirals 13-2.
Four errors within the first two innings contributed to seven early runs by the Oilmen, and they never looked back. Admirals’ no. 2 starter Tomas Aguilar was unable to pitch a clean, 1-2-3 inning in his five frames of work. He allowed seven hits, walked three and struck out two batters. Despite the rough day on the mound, Garza has high hopes for the left-hander, who pitches for College of DuPage, to be a key contributor for the Admirals moving forward.
“Tomas is a warrior, a silent warrior,” said Garza. “He doesn’t say very much, doesn’t get affected by any calls at all. Tomas is going to be very good for us. He just had a rough day. I see it in him.”
Timely hitting continues to plague the team as they grounded into three double-plays and were unable to cash in with the bases loaded in two separate innings. But their offense, which Garza said is one of the team’s strengths, is starting to slowly heat up. After getting only two hits in Thursday’s season opener, the Admirals’ bats were able to accumulate seven hits on Friday.
“The boys are starting to get in the groove of things, and they’ll be figuring it out here sooner than later,” Garza said of the offense.
Center fielder Jermaine Terry was a bright spot in the Admirals’ loss driving in all the runs for the team. He went 3 for 4 at the dish that included a triple and two singles. Terry said he was much more relaxed at the plate compared to Thursday’s game.
“Yesterday, I was a little tense, tightened up, but today I came out ready,” he said.
The Admirals are 0-2, but the season is young, and Terry is still optimistic about the team. They’re getting acclimated with a new home, coach and roster. With only a few practices under the team’s belt, Terry said that the production will come with time.
“This is a pretty solid team,” the center fielder said. “We haven’t played together so the connection isn’t really there, but I think as we go on it’ll get better, and we’ll be successful.”
The Admirals will try and right the ship Saturday night when the Southland Vikings come back to Joliet. The game at Wayne L. King Jr. Field is expected to start at 5pm.