By: Brandon Vickrey
Whiting, Ind. – July 20, 2020 – The pitch mix was different, but the result was the same for Northwest Indiana Oilmen starting pitcher Mike Madura (Purdue Fort Wayne / Munster, Ind.) on Monday.
The tall right hander beat the Minutemen for the second straight week, this time paving the way for an 11-1 victory with a quality six-inning start that featured 10 strikeouts, five hits and only one walk.
“Fastball command and the slider worked well; I used the changeup every once in a while,” Madura said. “It was almost the opposite of the last time against them. It was a lot more changeups last time, and more sliders this time. You have to mix it up when you see the same team multiple times in the same season. It looked like they adjusted and were sitting on my changeup in the first inning, so I went to the slider, which was working a lot better.”
Madura (2-0) picked up the victory in a pitchers’ duel that featured a deceiving final score as the Oilmen added to a 2-1 lead with two in the eighth before breaking it open with a seven-run ninth. Minutemen starter and Valparaiso High School product Ryan Troxel (0-2) took a tough-luck loss, allowing two runs on five hits in five plus innings.
Southpaw Isaiah Coupet (Ohio State / Flossmoor, Ill.) was flawless over three innings, retiring all nine men he faced including five via the strikeout. Oilmen pitching combined to strike out 15 Minutemen hitters while issuing just one walk. Coupet nailed down his first save of the summer.
“Coupet hasn’t had a bad outing yet,” Cunningham said. “As dominant as the starting staff has been for us, he’s been as good as anyone. Let’s hope he can keep it going for the rest of the summer.”
Nick Anderson (Arkansas Fort Smith / Highland, Ind.) clubbed a two-run double in the second to give the Oilmen a 2-1 lead. He added an RBI single in a ninth inning that saw NWI send 12 men to the plate and score seven times. Michael Machnic (Webber International / Walkerton, Ind.) also continued his recent offensive success, enjoying a three-hit day. The Oilmen offense was the beneficiary of 11 walks, four hit batters and three errors by the Minutemen (4-10).
“Anderson and Machnic have been extremely consistent for us,” Cunningham said. “We’ve got to find a way to be a little better offensively. We threw the ball well, and played good defense today.”
The Oilmen (10-4) now own sole passion of first place in the MCL standings, leading DuPage County by ½ game and Southland by one game. The Oilmen and Vikings get together on Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Dowling Park in Hammond. Andrew Fish and Jack Theil will have the call on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, which is available via Facebook Live.
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