By: Brandon Vickrey
Whiting, Ind. – July 24, 2020 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen have been bounce-back specialists during the 2020 season.
The team upped its record to 5-0 following losses and still hasn’t dropped back-to-back games all year after defeating the MCL Minutemen 7-4 on Saturday night at Oil City Stadium.
“We take it one game at the time,” Oilmen manager Chris Cunningham said. “We brought a little different energy today. We’ve got to keep bringing that energy and positive attitude to the field every day. That’s the name of the game.”
A key cog in the victory was starting pitcher Kyle Iwinski (Kankakee CC / Griffith, Ind.), who put together his best outing in an Oilmen uniform and one of the team’s top pitching performances of the season thus far. He displayed pinpoint accuracy, issuing no walks while racking up 10 strikeouts over seven two-hit innings. The only damage against him was an unearned run in the eighth.
“I was just trying to pound the zone today,” Iwinski said. “I knew I had a good defense behind me to help me out. Throwing the first pitch strike is important. The year of experience in college really helped me. Coming back here for a second summer, I know what I have to do to get the job done and prepare for my second year of college.”
Tommy Windt (South Suburban / Orland Park, Ill.) snapped a scoreless tie with a two-run single in the fourth. Nick Anderson (Arkansas Fort Smith / Highland, Ind.) had a big night with two hits and three RBIs. His run-scoring single completed a three-run fourth, then he was at the heart of another three-run uprising in the sixth by clubbing a two-run double.
That three spot in the sixth started with Angelo Cantelo’s (Lewis / Blue Island, Ill.) first home run of the summer, which led off the inning. The Oilmen (12-5) built up a 6-0 lead through six, but the Minutemen (5-13) made a game of it with an unearned run in the seventh and three tallies in the top of the eighth.
However, Conner Tomasic (Purdue / Schererville, Ind.) put the finishing touches on the victory thanks to his efforts both at the plate and on the mound. He crushed a long solo shot to left to add an eighth-inning insurance run before coming on to nail down his first save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. That allowed Iwinski to secure the victory, his first decision of the summer.
“Kyle was excellent,” Cunningham said. “He had really good command of his fastball and breaking ball, and was throwing both pitches for strikes. We swung the bats extremely well up and down the order. We had a lot of line drives and well-hit baseballs. That was good to see after yesterday. We played good defense except for one play. It was a clean game. I liked the way we bounced back.”
The win allowed the Oilmen to inch back into sole possession of the top spot in the Midwest Collegiate League standings. They own a ½ game lead over second-place DuPage County, which will be in town for a 6:10 p.m. first pitch on Saturday night at Oil City Stadium. Tickets for the big game are available on NWIOilmen.com and those who cannot attend can watch on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network via Facebook Live with Brandon Vickrey and Ryan Zimmerman on the call.
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