06/05/2015 11:17 AM
Michigan City, Ind. – June 5, 2015 – For the fourth consecutive game, everything seemed to be falling into place for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen.
Pitcher Christian Howell (Minnesota State Mankato / Aurora, Ill.) settled in after a wobbly start to his Oilmen debut, the Michigan City Lakers handed the Oilmen four unearned runs and it appeared as if the undefeated start to the Adam Enright era would extend at least one more day.
Then, the eighth inning happened.
Two hits, two errors and a walk later, Michigan City had come from behind with three runs to pick up a 7-5 win over the Oilmen.
Zeke White crossed the dish to tie the game on a ground ball to first that was mishandled by Oilmen first baseman Fred Smart (Siena College / Evanston, Ill.). With White breaking for the plate, Smart bobbled the ball and then made a late throw to catcher Zack Jones.
“The right thought was to field it cleanly and you’ve got an easy out at home,” Enright said. “Once the bobble happens, you could see a little panic. Once that happens, you’ve just got to take the out and first and set yourself up to stop the bleeding. If you throw home and don’t get an out, it opens the flood gates.”
Jerry Hodges stepped to the plate next and ripped a run-scoring single, then an errant throw to third allowed an additional run to score.
Although two of the three runs pushed across in the eighth were unearned, Jordan Lewis (Purdue / Escondido, Calif.) was hit with the defeat. Sam Bell (Marian / Munster, Ind.) worked 2/3 of an inning and was touched for an unearned run in the seventh that put the Lakers within striking distance. Casey Young picked up the win with two innings of scoreless relief.
Neither starter – Michigan City’s Bobby Humphreys nor Northwest Indiana’s Howell – factored into the decision. Humphreys yielded three runs on eight hits over six innings.
“The fastball command was questionable early, and that’s why they got a couple runs,” Enright said. “He settled in and gave us a chance to win. He’ll get the ball again next week, and hopefully the fastball command will be there from the get-go.”
Zack Jones (Trinity Christian College / Park Forest, Ill.) busted out of an 0-for-9 slump with a fifth-inning single, and provided an encore by cracking a base hit in the seventh.
The Oilmen stole four bases – all in the sixth and seventh innings – as they rallied to grab a 5-3 lead. Brad Wood (Northern Illinois / Orland Park, Ill.) and Stefano Belmonte (South Suburban College / Munster, Ind.) each delivered run-scoring singles for the Oilmen.
Northwest Indiana (3-1) visits undefeated DuPage County on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game can be heard on AM 1230 WJOB and NWIOilmen.com starting at 12:50.
After recording their first-ever Midwest Collegiate League victory, the Lakers (1-2) battle the Vikings at 5 p.m. at Hap Bruno Field.
The first home game at Oil City Stadium this season is set for Wednesday, June 10 at 7 p.m. against the Joliet 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.