07/25/2022 8:37 PM -
Chicago Heights Ill.- After allowing eight runs through the first three innings the Northwest Indiana Oilmen needed someone who could shut down the Crestwood Panthers offense.
Jack Niekrasz (Riverside/ Illinois Tech) proved he was up for the task hurling five innings, the last four of which were scoreless. The right hander walked just one batter and struck out three and gave the Oilmen a chance to make a comeback. Despite the best efforts from their pitcher the Oilmen came up short falling 10-6 to Crestwood.
“He made their hitters have to expect multiple pitches to the point where they couldn’t sit on just one pitch,” Oilmen Manager Adam Enright said. “He put up zeroes which allowed us to chip back into it but we just couldn’t score enough runs in those innings.”
The Crestwood offense came out firing early, putting up ten runs over the first four frames but were stifled later on by Neikrasz. The Oilmen got on the board in the third inning when Colin Horneman (Saint John/ Lincoln Trail) and Chris Baker (South Holland/ Trinity Christian) each drove in a solo tally. The Oilmen would tack on runs throughout the game and eventually found themselves within four runs. Their best opportunity to tie things up came in the eighth inning when the bases were loaded and Baker, representing the tying run, was at the plate. Bake hit a deep fly ball to center field but his counterpart Brandon Simon made a tremendous catch for the final out of the inning which extinguished the Oilmen rally.
“If that ball gets over the center fielder's head it’s a one run game with Chris Baker most likely on third base,” Enright said. “That was crushing, we hadn’t scored four runs or more in one inning all game so it made our job more difficult.”
Dispute the loss a pair of newcomers each contributed offensively. Brennan Phillips added two hits while Josh Cuniff drove in two runs.
The Oilmen will look to bounce back on Tuesday when they host the Southland Vikings at Oil City Stadium at 7:10 P.M. The game will be broadcast across all platforms of the Oilmen broadcasting network.