The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Oilmen Walk Off Again to Top Panthers

06/21/2019 10:54 PM -

Whiting, Ind. – June 21, 2019 – If the ending seem familiar, that’s because Friday’s matchup between the Northwest Indiana Oilmen and Crestwood Panthers was a rerun of sorts at Oil City Stadium.

But this movie was one Oilmen fans were glad to watch again, as Northwest Indiana topped Crestwood in walk-off fashion on a Friday night for the second straight week. This time it was a 2-1 victory that ended on a Jackson Dvorak (University of Missouri St. Louis / New Lenox, Ill.) hit that drove in Clay Thompson (Oakland / Schererville, Ind.) and sent the Oilmen pouring out of the dugout in celebration.

The win was a big one for the Oilmen (7-7), who got back to the .500 mark, dodged a three-game losing streak and entered a four-game road trip with positive momentum all thanks to a game-ending swing of the bat by Dvorak.

“We didn’t want to start a road trip on a three-game losing streak, that’s for sure,” Oilmen manager Kevin Tyrrell said. “Southland and Joliet are ready for us and feel like they both owe us one, so we needed to get a win and gain a little bit of offensive momentum going into this weekend.”

The Oilmen had their chances throughout the evening, scattering 12 hits but stranding 11 on base. NWI left a pair in each of the first two innings and had the bases loaded with one out in the sixth but did not score.

“We’re lucky that we were within reach,” Tyrrell said. “Our pitching kept us in it and we didn’t make too many defensive mistakes. We’re going to start to get those timely hits. I know I keep saying it, but hopefully they come by the end of the season when we need them. We’re a team that is going to battle and put pressure on pitchers. It was disappointing that we didn’t put the ball in play with a runner at third and less than two outs. The last two weeks we’ve worked on two-strike approach, but we’ll continue to work on that.”

It was a night dominated by pitching, as 26 total batters struck out including 16 Panthers fanned by the Oilmen pitching staff – eight apiece by starter Jonny Vesevick (College of DuPage / Wheaton, Ill.) and reliever Mike Madura (Munster, Ind. / Munster). Vesevick permitted one run on five hits in five frames, while Madura (2-0) earned the win with four scoreless innings of one-hit ball.

“Madura has been lights out over his last two outings,” Tyrrell said. “Coach (Kyle Klosak) and I were working with Jonny on throwing from a higher arm slot. I had seen him throw from a higher arm slot last year and this year he’s a little bit lower and had less control against left-handed hitters. We worked on his arm slot today, and his command wasn’t great, but he still held them to one run. He’s not afraid of any stage and he’s a competitor.”  

Thompson scored both Oilmen runs in the game as he tripled and scored in the third. Justin Conant (Ball State / Shorewood, Ill.) turned in a three-hit output, including the RBI knock that chased home Thompson in the third. Crestwood eventually tied it when Nick Anderson tripled and scored in the fifth, and the game stayed 1-1 until the bottom of the ninth.

The Oilmen will face a quick turnaround as they follow Friday night’s game with a Saturday afternoon affair at Hap Bruno Field in Chicago Heights, Ill. The 1 p.m. game will be available on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network via Facebook Live with Brandon Vickrey, Blake Toman and Will Trubshaw on the call.