06/04/2017 12:02 PM -
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen visited the Crestwood Panthers for the first time this season Sunday. The Panthers, who are new members to the MCL in 2017, got their first look at the reigning league champions and couldn’t keep up with NWI’s hot bats. The Oilmen scored 12 runs in the first five innings and took the ballgame, 16-0.
As he has become known to do, Tyler Sroczynski jumpstarted the Oilmen offense in the first inning. The incoming fifth-year senior at Trinity Christian was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, and later got from first to third after stealing second and advancing another base after a wild throw from Panther catcher Brady West. Amir Wright only needed a sacrifice fly to left to score Sroczysnki and give Northwest Indiana the lead.
That was just the start of a great day at the plate for NWI and a long struggle for Crestwood starter Egan Bailey. The Oilmen scored another in the first; Amir Wright tripled and later scored to take a 2-0 lead. Then, Northwest Indiana added another one in the second, two in the third and four in the fourth to blow the game open. Bailey gave up nine runs in 3 2/3 innings of work, allowing nine hits and striking out one.
“The only thing with him is just efficiency, knowing when he needs to set pitches up,” Coach Adam Enright said. “He gets ahead of everybody. Sometimes, he let counts go a little deeper than they needed to… There were a couple of times he went 0-2 to 3-2 and it cost him a walk or a few extra pitches. It probably cost him another inning, which is huge. He was at 100 pitches. Other than just being a little more efficient, a couple of two-out walks with nobody on and a couple of deep counts to guys who he could have put away earlier in the count, he was phenomenal.”
Max Franklin made his first start as an Oilman and had a much better time on the mound. He threw five scoreless innings and gave up just two hits. The combination of Franklin’s pitching and every Oilmen getting on base in the first five innings gave NWI a 12-0 lead. Blake Marks relieved Franklin and was equally impressive. In four innings, Marks struck out 10 Panthers and preserved the shutout. From there, Northwest Indiana cruised to an easy win which also made history. After scoring four more in the next four innings, the Oilmen tied the team record for largest margin of victory in a game in the 16-0 win. NWI had beaten the Bloomington Bobcats and Southland Vikings by 16 in the 2016 season.
“It makes my life a lot easier when I don’t have to do anything,” Enright said. “I think that through the dog days of June and July teams get a little worn out and it comes down to how deep your pitching staff is… At the end of the week like this, a lot of people have played five or six games in a row and Crestwood’s in that bill as we are too. We probably got some of the back end of their rotation out there today, and we’re a team that usually takes care of games where we don’t see their best guys.”
Franklin picked up the win and improved to 2-0 on the season. Egan Bailey took the loss and fell to 0-1.
The Oilmen have two days off before heading back to Crestwood to face the Panthers Wednesday. NWI plays its first home game of the season Thursday at Oil City Stadium against the Southland Vikings.
To see the box score from today's game, click on "Download Attachment".