06/12/2018 10:49 PM -
Midlothian, Ill. – June 12, 2018 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen want to win every time they take the field, but when a team uses 15 innings of pitching and effort, there’s a little extra incentive to make sure it’s for a victorious cause.
The Oilmen edged the Crestwood Panthers 7-6 in a 15-inning marathon on Tuesday night at Howie Minas Field. Each team scored a run in the 14th, while Crestwood stranded the potential tying run at third in the bottom of the 15th. Cory Krolikowski (Minnesota Duluth / Bartlett, Ill.) went the other way with a soft single to left to plate the game-winning run in the top of the 15th.
“You invest a lot in a game like this, especially on the mound,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “When you invest 15 innings worth of pitching, especially when you have a week with seven games, it’s important to not lose that game because we’ll be a little bit shorthanded for the next six because of playing almost an extra game today. In our situation where we’re tweaking the pitching a little bit, it’s important to win the game where we use two starters.”
Alex Voss (Butler / South Bend, Ind.) had an unforgettable college-level debut after finishing his senior year of high school and joining the Oilmen. He entered the game in right field as a defensive replacement and made an error, but more than atoned for that with what he did both on the mound and at the plate later in the game. Voss found himself pitching in a pressure-packed spot with no margin for error in extra innings, and yielded just one run on two hits and no walks in four frames to pick up the win. Offensively, Voss ripped a go-ahead single in the top of the 14th.
“You can tell he’s in his element on the mound,” Enright said. “Talking to the Butler coaches, they’re entertaining the idea of him playing both ways. He could still do that; he had a really big hit in the 14th. That’s obviously not out of the question, but you can tell that where he has the ability to dominate is on the mound. His frame and what he does now as a graduated high school senior is very impressive as far as commanding his fastball and throwing good off-speed pitches.”
The Oilmen (4-7) jumped on the board by manufacturing a second-inning run, then added two more in the fourth. Crestwood (1-8) plated a pair of runs that took advantage of two Oilmen defensive mistakes in the fifth to shrink the lead to 3-2. Tommy Farrell (UIC / Chicago, Ill.) tripled to drive in an Oilmen run in the seventh, but Crestwood plated three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 5-4 lead.
Nate Montgomery (Tusculum Geneva, Ill.) lifted a sacrifice fly in the eighth to level the score at five. It would remain 5-5 until the 14th. Crestwood’s Jackson Shepherd allowed one run (none earned) on two hits and no walks over six innings of relief. The Panthers sent down 16 straight Oilmen batters from the eighth to the 14th.
Oilmen starter Brandon Hickey (Robert Morris / Monee, Ill.) scattered four hits and allowed two runs (none earned) while striking out seven and walking two in five innings. He wiggled out of several tough jams, thanks in part to timely strikeouts.
“Getting ahead in those situations is important,” Enright said. “We were able to make quality pitches in the zone to get to strike two. They took a lot of first-pitch strikes and hit a lot of foul balls, so we got ahead that way. We got a lot of defensive swings late in counts.”
Norman Standish (South Suburban / Highland, Ind.) was also a key contributor, tossing three scoreless frames out of the bullpen. Jake Perreira (University of Indianapolis / Grant Park, Ill.) was the only Oilmen player with a multi-hit day.
Tuesday’s game was the second-longest in Oilmen history in terms of innings played behind only a 16-inning marathon against the Lexington Snipes in 2014 at Oil City Stadium. This marked both the longest road game and the longest victory in terms of innings played in franchise history.
The Oilmen will be back at it at 5 p.m. CT at Hap Bruno Field on Wednesday as they clash with the Southland Vikings.
To view the box score from the game, click here.