By: Brandon Vickrey
Whiting, Ind. – July 7, 2019 – A team that entered the weekend struggling to score runs has turned it around via instant offense in the form of home runs over the last two games.
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen slugged four long balls out of Oil City Stadium in a 24-hour span, most recently two key home runs in an 8-4 win over Joliet on Sunday afternoon at Oil City Stadium.
“We hit some home runs, but also had some timely hits with runners in scoring position early in the game,” Oilmen manager Kevin Tyrrell said. “We had two outs and nobody on and turned it into productive innings. We realized we could steal because their pitcher was slow to the plate, so that gave us some confidence. It was a good offense day all around.”
The Oilmen trailed 2-0 until a four-run bottom of the second-inning that featured a go-ahead, three-run bomb off the bat of Clay Thompson (Oakland / Schererville, Ind.) that cleared the right-field fence. That was part of a two-hit day for Thompson that also included a stolen base and a walk.
“He’s a dynamite ballplayer,” Tyrrell said. “He’s a year away from being a five-tool Division-I outfielder. Sometimes his swing gets big, and after the home run he went up there not looking to lift the baseball, which is a good sign of his discipline and his understanding of his progress. He looked to bunt the ball down the third-base line, which is the mark of a great teammate who is looking to win, not pad his stats.”
With the Oilmen leading 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth, Frank Napleton (St. Leo / LaGrange, Ind.) connected on his team-leading third home run, clearing the brick wall in left. The Oilmen (12-11) tacked on one in the seventh on an RBI double off the scoreboard by Jackson Dvorak (Missouri St. Louis / New Lenox, Ill.) and two more in the eighth on a two-run single by Malik Peters (Northern Illinois / Calumet City, Ill.).
Starting pitcher Jordan Petty (Highland, Ind. / Highland) worked 6 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on five hits while walking three and striking out five. Petty was the winning pitcher to up his record to 1-1. The Oilmen bullpen of Anthony Hernandez (College of DuPage / Chicago, Ill.), Jonny Vesevick (College of DuPage / Wheaton, Ill.) and Chris Torres (Chesterton, Ind. / Chesterton) combined to put up nothing but zeros the rest of the way.
“Jordan is fantastic,” Tyrrell said. “After a rough first inning, he adjusted to the zone and figured it out. He’s not very hittable and all four runs they had off him were runners that walked. He’s not the type of pitcher that is going to give up three hits in a row. The only time he is going to let up runs is via free bases. That’s a testament to his stuff; he’s a very dominant pitcher.”
Thompson, Dvorak and Brandon Petkoff (Texas A&M Corpus Christi / Frankfort, Ill.) had two hits apiece, while Gabe Pulido (South Suburban / Griffith) ripped a run-scoring doubled for the first Oilmen run in the eventual win over Joliet (9-9).
The Oilmen will be back in action on Tuesday for a doubleheader against the Bloomington Bobcats at the Corn Crib in Normal, Ill. The first of two seven-inning games will begin at 7 p.m. Blake Toman and Brady Extin (filling in for Brandon Vickrey) will have the call on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, which is available via Facebook Live.
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