06/13/2021 6:29 PM -
Lansing, Ill. – June 13, 2021 – Facing an early deficit and in the midst of a three-game losing streak, a big inning was just was the doctor ordered to reverse the Northwest Indiana Oilmen’s fortunes on Sunday afternoon.
That’s exactly what the team delivered, scoring six times in the fifth frame to flip a 3-1 deficit into a 7-3 lead in an eventual 13-3 rout of host Crestwood at Lansing Old Timers Park in Lansing, Ill.
“The fifth inning was huge,” Oilmen manager TJ Marik said. “I was pretty aggravated after we stranded the bases loaded in the first inning, but I had a lot of confidence in these guys. They came out and performed. Our guys stayed stress-free and just worried about the next pitch.”
Zamaurion Hatcher (Michigan / Chicago, Ill.) ripped an RBI double and Jacob Ferry (Morehead State / Aurora, Ill.) clubbed a two-run two-bagger to left as part of the prosperous inning. Christian Williams (Michigan State / Carmel, Ind.) and Matt Lelito (Kankakee CC / St. later added run scoring singles in the elongated frame, which helped erase a rough start that saw the Oilmen settle for one run in the first inning after having the bases loaded and no outs with the one already in the bank.
The Oilmen added a run in the sixth, and then exploded for five more in the top of the ninth to put the finishing touches on the victory. Mike Carey (John A. Logan / Tinley Park, Ill.), Ferry and Williams had three hits apiece to help the Oilmen bang out 14 base knocks.
“Having the top of the lineup get going a little bit was super nice to see,” Marik said. “With us being pretty limited with position players today, those guys had to step up to get us back up to .500. They did their jobs today.”
Oilmen starting pitcher Brandon Laux (Kirkwood CC / Chicago, Ill.) allowed three runs on three hits in 3 1/3 innings but did a strong job working out of trouble as he limited the damage despite walking seven and hitting a batter.
Jacob Bimbi (Kirkwood CC / Chicago, Ill.) earned the win in relief, striking out six and permitting no hits over 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Nick Heiden (Webster / Minooka, Ill.) struck out five and yielded just one hit over three shutout innings of relief. He received the save by virtue of the three-inning save rule.
Oilmen pitching allowed 11 walks and hit three batters for a total of 14 free bases, but held the Panthers to four hits in the win.
“I think we’re trying to nitpick too much on the mound,” Marik said. “We’re trying to paint corners, but ultimately to win in a wood-bat league, you have to throw strikes. A lot of these hitters aren’t used to wood bats, especially early in the season. If they just throw the ball right down the middle, that could lead to success. We’re pretty down right now on the mound, but we’re confident we can go up from here.”
The Oilmen will visit Southland on Monday evening at 5 p.m. at Dowling Park in Hammond, Ind. The game will be broadcast on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network via Facebook Live with Brandon Vickrey, Leo Staudacher and Jack Theil on the call.