Liners clinch pennant, home-field advantage
SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County Liners have spent the 2012 season making history, and during Saturday night’s game against the Northwest Indiana Oilmen the team continued to make history.
The Liners beat the Oilmen 3-2 in 10 innings in the team’s final regular-season home game at Sycamore Park.
DeKalb County started off strong in the first inning, when outfielder Markus Duckworth scored on Erik Lockwood’s hit.
The defense would show their strengths when the Liners turned a double play in the top of the third inning. Joey Burney snatched a line drive at first base and threw for the second out at second base.
Luke Harrison got the start on the mound for the Liners. Harrison threw three innings, giving up two hits and had one strikeout.
As the offense for DeKalb County struggled to perform after the first inning, Lockwood helped hold the Oilmen’s offense for several innings. Lockwood threw three innings, giving up one run on four hits while striking out three.
He left the game after the sixth inning when he hit a batter and then walked two in a row.
Brent Mueller pitched two innings for the Liners. He gave up one run on four hits and struck out two batters.
The Liners gained a new rhythm in the sixth inning when first baseman Joey Burney hit a single that advanced second baseman Brent Turner to third base. Turner scored on a hit by outfielder Charlie Dennehey to tie the game at two.
It was tight for both teams as the game went into the ninth inning.
Burney made the move to the mound and helped lead the team to victory.
“Everyone was out there grinding,” said Burney of the win against Northwest Indiana, “It was so much fun. I loved it.”
Burney ended the ninth inning with only one hit and one strikeout.
Burney would also be responsible for one of the outs in the ninth inning when he raced, and beat, an opposing player to first base. Besides Burney’s successful pitching, the game still went into extra innings.
The 10th inning had more success for Burney on the mound.
Burney ended the inning with an assist on an out at home and had one strikeout. Burney drove in the winning run when he hit a single that brought outfielder Markus Duckworth home.
The Liners also won Sunday against the Chicago Zephrys, to give the Liners the MCL pennant and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Burney on preparing for the playoffs. ”We have been playing so well together all year so why not take that into the playoffs?”
The Liners begin Midwest Collegiate League playoff series action against Southland on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at Sycamore Park.