06/09/2016 10:03 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 9, 2016 – When a key player is due for a day off, Oilmen manager Adam Enright can turn to another high-caliber option.
The depth of this year’s team was on display on Thursday as the Oilmen battered the Southland Vikings 15-4 to improve to 3-0 at home and extend their winning streak to four.
Northwest Indiana (5-6) granted star leadoff man Tyler Sroczynski and key middle of the order cog Brad Bohlen days off, but the lineup did not skip a beat. The Oilmen banged out season highs in both runs and hits (21) and finished two hits shy of the team single-game record.
“It makes our job a little bit harder when we’re recruiting the team and then a little bit easier when we can take certain guys out of the lineup and not sacrifice offensive production,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “It’s worth doing the extra work to make sure you have 14 or 15 guys who can get the job done.”
Chase Dawson (Valparaiso / Chesterton, Ind.) hit leadoff for the first time, a spot occurred by Sroczynski six of the previous seven games. Dawson continued his strong start to the summer with three hits.
Cory Krolikowski (Minnesota Duluth / Bartlett, Ill.), Stefano Belmonte (Florida Gulf Coast / Munster, Ind.) and Chris Baker (Illinois-Chicago / South Holland, Ill.) racked up four hits each. Krolikowski launched a bases-clearing triple as part of an eight-run sixth inning that changed the game’s complexion. His three-hit performance snapped an 0-for-8 stretch over the previous two games.
“When he gets good pitches to hit, he usually doesn’t miss them,” Enright said. “His only downfall that I see is that he’ll swing at some bad pitches when he’s in good counts. This is a preview of games to come for him if he can stay with a good approach.”
The sixth-inning uprising also featured a bases-clearing double by Jordan Flint (Eastern Illinois / Bartlett, Ill.), his first extra-base hit in an Oilmen uniform. Flint racked up five RBIs in the game.
Clay Keltner (Cornerstone / Highland, Ind.) tossed five innings and allowed just one unearned run on three hits and three walks while striking out three. Keltner (1-1) grabbed his first win in an Oilmen uniform.
Southland (4-6) starter Michael Shereyk (0-2) was hit with the defeat after allowing six runs on 12 hits in five frames. The majority of the Oilmen damage came against Jaylin Davis, who yielded eight runs on six hits in 2/3 of an inning.
The Oilmen have now batted around in an inning for four consecutive games.
“It’s a product of putting pressure on the pitcher with two-strike hits,” Enright said. “We had a couple of good at-bats today with two strike-counts. Maybe that plays a factor into the pitcher making a mistake on the next guy and giving him a pitch to hit. The game speeds up on the other team when we get some hits late in counts.”
Six Oilmen players had multiple hits, eight had at least one hit and all nine reached base. Tommy Szczasny (Northern Illinois / Tinley Park, Ill.) continued to impress with two hits after notching three in his Oilmen debut on Wednesday.
“The first day of BP, I saw his swing and the way he approaches hitting,” Enright said. “His swing is very high level, it’s very polished. He is by no means a high school hitter. I think he’s going to be ready to go to NIU and make a splash right away. He’s going to be somebody to keep an eye on in the next year or two.”
The Oilmen continue the homestand on Friday against the DuPage County Hounds at 7:20 p.m. at Oil City Stadium. The first 400 fans to enter the ballpark will receive a free Oilmen T-shirt. To purchase tickets or to view the full schedule, visit NWIOilmen.com.