07/19/2014 9:39 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 19, 2014 – The season-long theme of a lack of timely hitting plagued the Northwest Indiana Oilmen yet again on Saturday night against DuPage County.
The Oilmen swung aggressively throughout the game, eventually falling 6-2 to the Hounds. Out of the 27 NWI outs, 13 came with the batter swinging at the first pitch of the at-bat.
“After the first inning, I was asking, ‘Are we playing speed-up rules that I don’t know about?’” Oilmen manager Justin Huisman said. “We used to say if you took a strike the last day of Spring Training, you’d get fined because everybody was leaving and traveling after the game.”
The ninth inning was a microcosm of the game as a whole, as the Oilmen saw just five pitches, committing three quick outs against DuPage County’s Christian Bokich.
“I was an aggressive hitter, so it’s not like I was really upset with some of that, but usually if you’re going to swing at the first pitch, you’ve got to do more than hit a roll-over groundball,” Huisman said.
Winning pitcher Adam Dressler hurled seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits while throwing only 73 pitches. The Oilmen have been unable to elevate the pitch counts of opposing starters the last three nights, as Quinn Ahern worked 10 innings on Thursday for Joliet before John Munyon tossed 11 frames on Friday night for the Snipes.
“The past two days with guys going 10 innings and 11 innings against us, I don’t know if pitch counts are even happening,” Huisman said. “You would like to see the starters having to work a little bit harder, and we did have some deeper counts. We didn’t do a whole lot with them.”
The pitching matchup favored the Oilmen on paper, as Dressler was making his first start of the season, while Northwest Indiana sent Cameron Linck, who has been the team’s most effective starter, to the rubber. Linck was hit with the loss, allowing four runs (three earned runs) over five innings.
Craig Dedelow played a role in both Oilmen runs in the game. He lifted a sacrifice fly to plate Rob Blissitt in the third before leading off the sixth inning by hammering a triple off the wall in right. Dedelow eventually crossed the dish on a wild pitch.
Nick Vogelmeier contributed two hits for the Oilmen. Connor Kopach enjoyed a 2-for-3 day with three runs scored to lead the Hounds.
The Oilmen bullpen continued to see significant action as Andrew Lowe and Andrew Jackson threw two innings each. The all-local bullpen has kept the Oilmen in games, allowing three runs in 23 innings over the last five games.
“We probably use our bullpen more than anybody, but I’ve always done that,” Huisman said. “I’m about development. I’m not about wearing out arms. I’ve taken guys out that I know could probably put up zeroes better than the next guy, but that’s why I do this. That’s why I played summer ball, I wanted to play.”
That philosophy carries over to Huisman’s lineup, meaning that no significant lineup changes are expected to take place despite the team’s recent lack of run scoring.
“I play everybody,” Huisman said. “I don’t just put the best lineup out there that may win more games. I make sure that everybody gets what they deserve out of this.”
The Oilmen (21-14, 19-13) are now tied with Lexington for third place in the MCL standings, with both teams 3 ½ back of first-place DuPage County (23-12). The Southland Vikings defeated the Snipes on Saturday afternoon, meaning that the Vikings remain 1 ½ games in back of the Hounds.
The Oilmen will look to get back on track with Sunday’s doubleheader against the Chicago Zephyrs with game one slated to begin at 4:10 p.m. It’s Latin Day at the ballpark with gates opening at 1 p.m. and live entertainment beginning at 1:30 p.m. Fans can enjoy mariachis and Latin music at Oil City Stadium.