07/25/2014 11:59 PM -
Lexington, Ill. . – July 26, 2014 – After a 16-inning defeat to Lexington on July 18 started a weeklong Oilmen tailspin, it took another date with the Snipes for the Oilmen to look fully recovered.
The Oilmen closed the regular season in style, sweeping a doubleheader from Lexington (23-18). The Oilmen utilized a six-run sixth inning to turn a competitive game into a rout, winning the opener 9-2. In the second game, the Oilmen held off the Snipes for a 4-2 triumph.
“We didn’t make any major mistakes,” Oilmen manager Justin Huisman said. “We hit the ball better, obviously. We pitched the ball well again, like we have been for a long time, and defense did a better job. All around, we just played better than we have been in the past.”
The Oilmen entered Saturday needing to sweep both games to clinch third place in the Midwest Collegiate League standings. They will start the postseason on the road against whichever team finishes second in the MCL standings – either Southland or DuPage County – on Tuesday night.
“I just wanted to play well,” Huisman said. “Whether we play the Vikings or the Hounds, we know we’re capable of beating both teams. I just wanted the offense to do a better job, play better defense and have a better day, and I think we did that.”
Game one transformed from a competitive game to a lopsided affair with one swing of the bat by Craig Dedelow in the sixth inning. He delivered a grand slam to right center, boosting the Oilmen lead to 7-1. Northwest Indiana tacked on two more runs in the inning as Nate Schneider, James Meeker and Zack Jones strung together three straight doubles following the Dedelow home run.
Dedelow became the first Oilmen player to hit a grand slam this season. The home run was his second of the year, finishing tied for the team lead. Dedelow posted three hits in the first game, finishing a triple shy of the cycle. Nick Vogelmeier reached base four times via three walks and a double.
Highland graduate Keith Mahler tossed five innings in his final tune-up before the postseason, allowing only one unearned run on five hits. Mahler earned the win to finish the regular season at 5-2.
In the second game, the Oilmen struck first as James Meeker cranked a solo home run in the second inning, his second long ball of the year. After Larry Crisler’s run-scoring fielder’s choice in the fourth inning made it 2-0, Dedelow delivered a two-out RBI single in the fifth.
The Oilmen tacked on a run in the seventh as Ryan Burvan provided an RBI single. Starting pitcher Danny Pobereyko allowed no runs on four hits while striking out six and walking none over six innings. Pobereyko (6-2) was the winning pitcher, while starter Josh Tonozzi took the defeat for the Snipes.
Pobereyko established a new Oilmen single-season record for strikeouts with 52. He leads the league in strikeouts entering the final day of the regular season on Sunday. Pobereyko will finish the season as the MCL wins leader with six. Fellow Oilmen Linck and Mahler will finish tied for second in wins with five each.
Andrew Lowe came in to pitch to start the seventh, but was lifted with two outs and runners at second and third. Matt Pobereyko entered and allowed a double to Cale Robinson, but he caught Jake Capko looking to end the game to record the save. Matt Pobereyko finished the regular season 13-for-13 in save chances and went 18-for-19 in successfully closing games in his MCL career.
If Southland wins both games of a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon against the Chicago Zephyrs, the Oilmen will play DuPage County in the first round of the postseason. If the Vikings lose both games of the doubleheader or split the twin bill and the Hounds defeat the Admirals on Sunday night, the Oilmen will play the Vikings in the opening round.
The Oilmen (26-17, 24-16) will open the postseason on the road on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Benedictine University against the Hounds or at 7:10 p.m. at Homewood-Flossmoor High School against the Vikings. Playoff baseball will return to Oil City Stadium on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. with adult tickets available for $4 and kids 12 and under for $2 on NWIOilmen.com.