By: Payton Ball
The MCL standings are about as tight as they can be at this point in the season. The last place Michigan City Lakers are only 5 ½ games back of the Joliet Admirals, who have been on fire recently and now hold first place in the league.
The Admirals have now won five straight. Brendan Brundage and Cody Grosse continue to swing hot bats. Brundage is hitting .382, while Grosse is hitting .383. Rob Talarico continues to impress; he is now 4-0 with a 3.27 ERA in four starts.
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen put together a streak of four solid wins, but have since lost two straight and they are now under .500. The Oilmen look to bounce back as they continue their streak of home games. Richard Yelnick took MCL Pitcher of the Week honors as he tossed six shutout innings against the then first-place, Bloomington Bobcats. Stefano Belmonte holds perhaps the most interesting stat in the league currently; he is the only player with more than nine plate appearances that has not struck out. He has 51 plate appearances and has yet to strikeout.
Dane Toppel has led his team offensively this past week, hitting .631, drawing six walks and getting hit by a pitch four times. Toppel has been a consistent bat in the DuPage County Hounds lineup this season. He leads the team in average (.421), runs (15), hits (23) and strikeouts (2).
The standings this year are unlike any other in years past. Every team has a shot to finish among the top. The Bobcats were an early favorite due to their stellar pitching. However, that great pitching has faltered. The Oilmen have instances where they look strong, but other times where they commit multiple errors. Also, never underestimate the experience a manger like John Ely can bring to a team like the Southland Vikings. The former Dodgers pitcher’s team is only 2 ½ games back and they certainly have the pieces to make a push.
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