By: Brandon Vickrey
Whiting, Ind. – July 31, 2019 – It looked like a lengthy batting practice session for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen on Wednesday night at Oil City Stadium.
The team jumped in front with seven runs in the bottom of the first in an eventual 18-8 victory over visiting Joliet. The Oilmen banged out 20 hits, finishing three hits and four runs shy of tying single-game franchise records.
“Our players are used to seeing my arm slot in batting practice, and the first two Joliet pitchers today were about my size with my arm slot, so our guys were ready,” Oilmen manager Kevin Tyrrell said. “Their starter was throwing strikes, so I’m glad that we were ready to swing the bats.”
Even without several key offensive cogs due to injuries, the top of the Oilmen order thrived. The first three hitters in the lineup – Malik Peters (Northern Illinois / Calumet City, Ill.), Patrick Doran (South Suburban / Evergreen Park, Ill.) and Jake Plastiak (Wabash Valley / Tinley Park, Ill.) combined for 11 hits on Wednesday.
“Malik had run into a slump after Saturday when he hit a home run to the pull side and started wanting to pull everything,” Tyrrell said. “He fixed it yesterday in batting practice, and now he’s getting his hands out in front of him. Doran has been Doran every time I’ve put him in the lineup; he always does something positive. Jake hit a home run to the deepest part of the ballpark from the left side, then hit a bomb in foul territory from the right side. He’s locked in.”
The prosperous first inning featured eight hits including four doubles. Plastiak finished a triple shy of the cycle, while Doran was a home run shy. Plastiak’s homer came to lead off the second inning, which turned into a three-run frame for the Oilmen. NWI added four in the third, starting the game with crooked numbers in each of the first three innings to account for a 14-2 lead.
There were only two walks issued by Joliet on the night, so the bulk of the Oilmen damage came via base hits. Then 18 runs matched a season high for the Oilmen, who prevailed 18-10 on June 12 vs. Bloomington.
Jordan Petty (Trinity Christian / Highland, Ind.) went 4 2/3 innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits and six walks while striking out seven. The Oilmen starter received no decision since he did not meet the five-inning minimum for a victory. Anthony Hernandez (College of DuPage / Chicago, Ill.) went 3 1/3 innings and allowed three runs (none earned) while scattering seven hits to pick up the win in relief. Position player Jackson Dvorak (Missouri St. Louis / New Lenox, Ill.) pitched the ninth and permitted one run.
“Jordan was sharp, and it all worked out,” Tyrrell said. “Anthony came up big for us on no rest. We’re not rested right now, and we need to get rested. Hopefully we swing the bats like this the rest of the way, because we’re going to need to win high scoring games.”
The Oilmen (20-17) are one win away from nailing down their eighth consecutive winning season. They also own a one-game lead over DuPage County for third place in the MCL standings. The Hounds and Oilmen will see a lot of one another over the final four days of the season, starting on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. at Oil City Stadium. Brandon Vickrey and Blake Toman will have the call on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, which is available via Facebook Live. Joliet (13-16) is two games behind DuPage for the final playoff spot.
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