06/11/2018 10:49 PM
NWI Oilmen (3-7)
at Crestwood Panthers (1-7)
June 12, 2018 • 4 p.m. • Midlothian, Ill.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
NWI LHP Brandon Hickey (Robert Morris / Monee, Ill.) vs. Crestwood RHP Ethan Klay (Lincoln Land / Springfield, Ill.)
The Oilmen have come on strong offensively after a slow start at the plate, as they’ve posted a double-figure run total in four consecutive games. This marks the first time in the seven-year history of the franchise they’ve scored 10+ runs in four straight games. There have only been two prior streaks of three straight games with a double-figure run total – one in 2012 and one in 2015. Nate Montgomery already has two home runs in the first 10 games of the season. Only one player in franchise history has had more than three in a season (Tyler Sroczynski, 7 in 2016). Speaking of home runs, Tyler Kenjic drilled a grand slam last Wednesday against Crestwood, the first grand slam by an Oilmen player since Chris Baker’s in the 2015 home opener against the Lakers. Craig Dedelow hit a grand slam on the final day of the 2014 regular season against Lexington, while Billy Miller hit one in the first game of the 2012 playoffs, a 5-1 win over the Hounds.
Inside the Oilmen
Motgomery, Kenjic and Brendan Butler are locked in a three-way tie for the team lead with eight RBIs apiece. Montgomery has scored a team-high 11 runs, while Nick Figus still holds the NWI lead in batting average at an even .500. Chris Baker is the club’s leader in walks with 11, while Christian Howell is the Oilmen pitcher who has recorded the most strikeouts with 16. Not far behind is Brandon Hickey, who will get the start on Tuesday. He’s racked up 15 strikeouts against seven walks in nine innings of work so far this summer. His only decision was a defeat in two starts. The Oilmen lefty went four shutout innings at Bloomington on May 29 before yielding three runs (one earned) in a tough-luck loss to DuPage County on June 5. His ERA sits at 1.00.
Inside the Panthers
The Panthers carry momentum with them into Tuesday’s game as they picked up their first win of the season on Saturday at Southland, snapping a seven-game season-opening losing streak. In that game against the Vikings, Crestwood scored three runs in three different innings to build up a 10-4 lead at the seventh-inning stretch, but Southland tied the game with three in the seventh and three inning the eighth. Crestwood pushed across the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth, then held on to beat the Vikings 11-10 in a game that saw each team rack up 14 hits. The Panthers are led offensively by Cole Blatchford, who owns a .382 average with one home run and three RBIs. His long ball, which came against the Oilmen, is the only Crestwood home run this season. Blake Soria leads the Panthers with six RBIs. Crestwood will start right-hander Ethan Klay on Tuesday. He has worked 9 1/3 innings over two games (one start) and has a 7.71 ERA this season, issuing eight walks while striking out 12. He pitched in relief against the Oilmen on May 28, allowing seven runs (six earned) on two hits and five walks in three frames.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen own an 11-2 edge in the all-time series, which began last season when Crestwood joined the MCL. NWI has won each of the first two meetings of the year, dispatching the Panthers 15-4 on Opening Night in Crestwood before picking up a 13-4 win last Wednesday at Oil City Stadium. Crestwood has accounted for two of the three Oilmen wins this season. The Oilmen will host the Panthers for a doubleheader on Sunday.
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