05/28/2015 7:50 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 1, 2015 – In his first interview after being hired as Oilmen manager, Adam Enright listed playing small ball as one of his goals for the 2015 season.
The Oilmen wasted no time in putting that plan into action. They bunted, stole and ran their way to a 5-2 victory over the Joliet Admirals in Monday’s opening day at Wayne L. King Junior Field.
“I’ve got guys on this team who have small ball in their makeup,” Enright said. “They’re always looking to bunt, take the extra base or steal. I was really impressed with the bunting, base running and baseball intelligence.”
Keith Mahler (Heartland / Cumberland / Highland, Ind.) received the start for the Oilmen, but left after three innings for precautionary reasons after feeling arm discomfort. With Mahler’s early departure, the Oilmen bullpen had the chance to flash its depth.
The first reliever on the hill was Richard Yelnick (Parkland, New Lenox, Ill.), who earned the win by retiring all six men he faced.
“It’s been three weeks since I’ve been out there, so I felt good,” Yelnick said. “I didn’t know I was going to be pitching, but I got in and did the job. The fastball was working great. The curve is getting there, but the fastball was really good.”
Yelnick was followed on the mound by the local trio of Christian Sullivan (Franklin College / Schererville, Ind.), Jimmy Skiff (Purdue Calumet / Dyer, Ind.) and Enrique Zamora (Calumet College / Hammond, Ind.). The only Joliet damage was two unearned runs against Sullivan. Zamora worked a scoreless ninth for his first save, as Joliet stranded runners at second and third.
“We’ve got nine guys on the staff that were starters for their colleges,” Enright said. “We’ve got guys who go out and eat a lot of innings. If your starter doesn’t have it that day, or feels sore, you can bridge the gap with another starter.
The Oilmen scored their first run of the season in the fifth inning as a single to right by Sam Geraci got past right fielder Chris Hipchen, allowing Zack Jones to cross the plate on the error. Brian Seymour singled to plate Geraci and make it 2-0.
The Oilmen added a run in the sixth as Alec Olund (Purdue / Schererville, Ind.) scampered home on a fielder’s choice bouncer by Stefano Belmonte. Northwest Indiana’s final two runs came in the seventh inning when Brian Seymour, Tyler Sroczynski and Olund strung together consecutive singles, before Brad Wood lifted a sacrifice fly.
Joliet starting pitcher Nick Allgeyer left after six innings of three-run, five-hit baseball. He issued three walks, struck out three and took the loss.
Sroczynski (Wabash Valley College / Trinity Christian / Dyer, Ind.) went 3-for-5 and stole two bases to pace the Oilmen offense. Olund and Seymour (South Suburban College / Lansing, Ill.) added two hits each.
The Oilmen earned the win in Enright’s first game as manager.
“You come out day one of summer ball with guys you’re seeing for the first time, and it’s about seeing what you have,” Enright said. “It feels great to get out on the right foot. We did a lot of things that you like to see on day one. There was some baseball intelligence and good execution.”
The Oilmen visit the Southland Vikings on Wednesday at 5 p.m. with a live broadcast available on NWIOilmen.com beginning at 4:50.
The first home game at Oil City Stadium this season is set for Wednesday, June 10 at 7 p.m. against the Admirals. It’s Entourage Night at the ballpark, as fans are encouraged to bring their entourage with them for a night of fun while catching their first glimpse of an exciting summer of Oilmen baseball.