06/27/2015 10:00 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 27, 2015 – Entering the seventh inning of Saturday’s game, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen did not have a home run at Oil City Stadium this season.
Now, they have three.
Brad Wood’s two-run blow got it going, sparking a six-run frame in an eventual 10-0 win over Joliet. Wood’s home run marked the end of starter Sean Renzi’s day, and then Alec Olund stepped in and greeted Steve Waldrop with a long ball of his own.
The back-to-back jacks marked the first and second Oilmen home runs at home this season and the first round trippers by an Oilman other than Jordan Lewis, who has three.
“We expected to have a couple guys in the middle of the lineup that could hit it out of the yard,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “You could tell once we hit the first one, it loosened guys up. They see it happen, and it’s contagious.”
Renzi fell behind 2-0 to Wood, so the Northern Illinois infielder knew he may get something to hammer.
“I was looking middle in and he threw it belt-high inside,” Wood said. “I put a good swing on it off the bat. I really didn’t know it was out until it went over the fence. It was a good feeling to get it started.”
Olund kept it going as his first home run of the year made it back-to-back jacks.
“I know it’s hard to follow a home run when you’re hitting,” Wood said. “Olund came up and didn’t seem to care. It was great.”
Stefano Belmonte tried to one-up both his teammates as he drilled one to the deepest part of the park, but it landed shy of the 403 sign in deep center. It appeared momentarily that the Oilmen would have three consecutive home runs, but instead Belmonte settled for the fourth straight NWI extra-base knock.
However, Belmonte joined the home-run party soon enough, as he launched one over the 320 sign in left with two outs in the eighth.
Although it wasn’t as flashy as the three big flies, it was Joe Jumonville’s two-run single in the third that marked perhaps the turning point of the game. The Oilmen had the bases loaded and no outs and the heart of the order due, but after Olund and Belmonte were retired, it took a two-out, two-strike rip up the middle by Jumonville to salvage a productive inning.
“That kind of relaxed everybody,” Enright said. “After that, their starter went to mixing curveballs with fastballs better. Once we figured out what approach we should have with our at-bats, we put some pretty good swings on it.”
For the third consecutive game, the Oilmen received a stellar outing from their starting pitcher. This time, it was Keith Mahler tossing seven shutout innings to notch the win and up his record to 2-0.
Sean Renzi was the losing pitcher for the Admirals, dropping to 1-1. The Admirals plummet to 5-8 with the defeat, while the Oilmen climb to 11-5 and remain tied for first with DuPage County. The Admirals were held scoreless in back-to-back matchups with the Oilmen this week.
Srocynski, Belmonte and Jumonville finished with three hits each in Northwest Indiana’s most lopsided win of the year.
“It’s a lot more fun when you’re winning by that much because everybody goofs around and has fun,” Wood said. “When we’re goofing around, we seem to do better than we normally do when we’re stressed out, so it seems to be a good plan for us.”