06/01/2022 7:16 PM -
Hammond, Ind. – June 1, 2022 – If pitchers issue free passes in the Northern League, chances are the opponent will make them pay.
That was the case on Wednesday afternoon for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen, as the guests issued 10 walks and hit four batters in an 11-4 setback to the host Crestwood Panthers at Dowling Park in Hammond, Ind.
“We didn’t throw enough strikes,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “We’re focusing on throwing two of our first three for strikes, even if it’s just fastballs. Then we want to get to the point where we can throw two of the first three for strikes and be unpredictable in those three pitches. That’s the ultimate goal, because then you’re ahead in a lot of counts and can have a lot of success.”
The Panthers (3-3) got the bulk of their runs in the middle part of the game, scoring three in the third, four in the fourth and two in the fifth. In addition to drawing 14 free passes, the hosts notched 13 hits.
A key moment in the game came with two outs in the bottom of the third with Crestwood up 2-0 when Alex Laas came up as a pinch hitter midway through an at-bat due to an injury and delivered a two-run single. That was only the start of a big day for Laas off the bench, as he went 4-for-4 and drove in four.
Oilmen starter Cameron Nohos (Loras / Hobart, Ind.) took the loss after allowing four runs on six hits and four walks in three innings. The bright spot of the day from a pitching perspective was the work of Caleb Deel (Lake Erie / Gary, Ind.), who bounced back from a wobbly outing against the Corn Dogs to toss two shutout innings of one-hit ball late in the game on Wednesday.
The Oilmen (3-4) stranded 12 on base on a day where all eight of their hits were singles. The team drew seven walks but struck out 12 times. Chazz Clark (Xavier LA / Chicago, Ill.) and Tylor Phommachanhom (Dayton / Joliet, Ill.) collected two hits apiece.
“We had a lot of baserunners on,” Enright said. “We hit a lot of balls hard and deserved to score a few more runs, but we also didn’t do a great job of limiting our swings below the strike zone. We swung at a lot of off-speed pitches that bounced. If we can stop ourselves from swinging at those, that will help us get into better counts and give us an opportunity to get the fastballs that we’re looking for.”
The Oilmen got on the board with a run in the fourth before pushing across a single tally in the fifth. The team scored twice in the sixth to cut the lead to 10-4 and had an opportunity for more in that frame, which consisted of two walks, two hits and two hit batters. Crestwood starter Justin Shassburger was in a bases-loaded, no-out jam and induced a crucial 5-3 double play on his final pitch of the day before Jacob Cook entered the game and kept the damage minimal.
The Oilmen will look to return to the win column on Thursday as they visit the Chicago American Giants at 5 p.m. at Illinois Tech. The game will be carried on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network via the Oilmen Facebook Page, Region Sports Network, JED-TV and AM 1230 WJOB with Brandon Vickrey and Leo Staudacher on the call.