07/28/2021 11:27 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 28, 2021 – Baserunners didn’t translate into runs for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen on Wednesday night at Oil City Stadium.
The Oilmen stranded 13 on base and narrowly avoided being shut out for the first time this season in a 5-1 loss to visiting Crestwood.
The Oilmen pushed across their lone run in the bottom of the ninth thanks to four walks to get the tying run to the plate. Jared Comia (Illinois / Dyer, Ind.) hit a rocket up the middle, but new pitcher Andrew Tenison gloved the line drive for the game’s final out to secure a three-pitch save.
“We didn’t get anything started until after two were out,” Oilmen manager TJ Marik said. “If we want to win games, we have to be better. We struck out too much tonight. It’s baseball, you’re going to lose games. This is a sport where anything can happen at any moment. We may be in first right now, but we’re not going to get complacent.”
Crestwood starter Michael Laudando scattered seven hits and two walks while fanning 10 to earn the victory with six shutout innings. NWI righty Matt Lelito (Kankakee CC / St. John, Ind.) was on the other side of the decision, giving up five runs (four earned) on six hits while striking out four and walking none in 4 1/3 innings.
“Lelito didn’t have his best stuff; he’d be the first one to tell you that,” Marik said. “Crestwood did a nice job of taking advantage. The Panthers found barrels and made hard contact throughout the game.”
The bright spot of the night for the Oilmen was AJ Wright (Northwood / Griffith, Ind.), who went 4-for-4 and reached safely in all five plate appearances. The red-hot Wright has strung together five straight multi-hit outputs.
“AJ has been great,” Marik said. “When he’s in the box, you’re pretty confident that you’re going to get a good at-bat out of him. He’s led off for us, and he’s also hit in the nine hole as a second leadoff man. He’s done a great job all summer.”
The bullpen helped keep the Oilmen within striking distance with Tom Conzemius (Quincy / Deerfield, Ill.) hurling three shutout innings of three-hit ball.
The Oilmen (20-8) still hold a three-game lead over Joliet for the top spot in the MCL standings. The Panthers (18-16) now sit in third place, 2 ½ ahead of Southland and Chicago, who are tied for fourth.
The Oilmen will host the Chicago American Giants on Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. at Oil City Stadium. The game will broadcast on AM 1230 WJOB and JED-TV with tickets available prior to the game at the stadium ticket window.