NIAGARA FALLS, NY – In what was their last game of the season against their divisional rival Niagara Power, the Oilers lost in walk-off fashion for the third straight time. This devastating three-game skid has gut-punched them straight back into third place in the Western Division, sitting just four points ahead of the fourth placed Genesee Rapids.
The Power matched the Oilers run-for-run in the third and fourth innings, as they would push across the same amount of baserunners in the bottom half as the Oilers would in the top.
Dom Cecere kicked things off in the third with a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Ryan Simmons. The first scoring play of the game was followed up in the bottom of the inning, when Isaiah Corry singled to right to score Dylan McNary.
The top half of the fourth came around as Adam Moore drove another sacrifice fly to Niagara right fielder Anthony D’Onofrio that scored Mason Nadolney. Kevin Mooney followed that up with an RBI double to left that scored Daniel Stauffer, and the Oilers had their second lead of the game.
Nonetheless, the Power answered in short order in the home half of the inning as Eric Wentz scored on a fielders’ choice. That play was followed by another unearned run from Frank Lucska, thanks to a defensive error from Nadolney, and the game was all square yet again.
The contest, for the most part, remained that way until the bottom of the ninth when Kolby Blanchard came across to score and win the game. The unearned run was again induced by a Nadolney error, as it seemed clear that the Oilers beat themselves in this crucial interdivisional game.
The Oilers have only five games remaining in their regular season. Two of them will be against the Genesee Rapids, and one will be against the Mansfield Destroyers. Those three games will be vital to their playoff hopes, as they will play the first of them Thursday at Bradner Stadium at 6 p.m. against the Rapids.
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