06/08/2021 11:40 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 8, 2021 – Opposing pitchers beware: Northwest Indiana Oilmen hitters will wait for their pitch.
And if necessary, they’ll wait and they’ll wait and they’ll wait. A patient approach at the plate continued to pay dividends in Tuesday’s home opener as the Northwest Indiana Oilmen drew 10 walks and two hit by pitches en route to a 10-4 victory over visiting Crestwood at Oil City Stadium.
The Oilmen (3-1) have worked 30 walks and eight HBP this season, averaging nearly 10 free passes per game through the first four contests. Tuesday’s five-run second inning was aided by six walks.
“Free bases are the name of the game,” Oilmen manager TJ Marik said. “That’s been huge for us. Our hitters are doing a really good job of attacking their zones. They don’t move out of their hot zones early in the count. Today was definitely the best game we’ve played all year on both sides of the ball.”
The selective approach was a key factor in the victory, but when Oilmen hitters took the bats off their shoulders on Tuesday, they did so effectively. Christian Williams (Michigan State / Carmel, Ind.) ripped a two-run single in the second, and later Zamaurion Hatcher (Michigan / Chicago, Ill.) unloaded a bases-clearing double in the eighth to double the Oilmen edge to six.
“We’re starting to see guys barrel up balls more than we did last week, and I think that’s because we’re getting used to the wood bats,” Marik said. “Guys who hadn’t seen live pitching in a while are getting reacclimated. Now it’s time for the offense to get rolling, and I think today was a really good start for it.”
While the Panthers (4-5) struggled to throw strikes, the opposite was true for the Oilmen pitching staff, which combined for 14 strikeouts against just one walk. It started with Jack Guzek (Iowa / Manhattan, Ill.), who struck out six over three innings of one-run, four-hit ball to earn the victory.
“Guzek did exactly what we asked for,” Marik said. “He threw strikes and challenged their hitters. He only gave up two or three hard hit balls and pitched very well. We hope to see that every time from him.”
Noah Mathias (Roosevelt / LaPorte, Ind.) contributed four innings of one-run, four-hit ball against his former team, and eventually Matt Litwicki (Indiana / Dyer, Ind.) nailed down the triumph by striking out a pair and yielding one hit in a dominant ninth inning.
AJ Wright (Northwood / Griffith, Ind.) posted his fourth multi-hit output in as many games this summer, while Jacob Ferry (Morehead State / Griffith, Ind.) also enjoyed a two-hit day.
The Oilmen improved to 5-5 all-time in home openers with Tuesday’s victory.
“It was amazing to be home; the crowd was great today,” Marik said. “I loved the music between innings and during BP. It was a great atmosphere; I hope to see that every time we play here.”
The Oilmen will host the Joliet Generals on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. at Oil City Stadium. Tickets will be available at the stadium box office. Brandon Vickrey and Leo Staudacher will have the call on JED-TV (jedtv.com), AM 1230 WJOB and 104.7 FM WJOB.