By: Brandon Vickrey
Whiting, Ind. – July 26, 2020 – It was a moment of redemption for Northwest Indiana Oilmen catcher Gabe Pulido (College of DuPage / Griffith, Ind.).
After permitting a passed ball that led to an unearned run earlier in the game, Pulido more than atoned for his miscue when he smoked a two-run homer to the right of the high brick wall in left field, helping the Oilmen roll to a 7-2 victory over the Crestwood Panthers on Sunday afternoon at Oil City Stadium.
“It felt good off the bat,” Pulido said. “I was upset that I had that passed ball, so I had a feeling I had to make up for it. It was nice to be able to come through with two outs. I felt a relief off my shoulders after the home run. I had struggled the past couple games, so I just wanted to get my feel back and help my confidence going forward.”
That marked Pulido’s first home run in an Oilmen uniform and helped him snap a small slump of 0-for-his-last-8. The home run extended a 3-1 edge to 5-1 and helped provide some separation.
“Gabe can really hit,” Oilmen manager Chris Cunningham said. “He has a really good line-drive swing. It was good to see him catch a 3-1 fastball out front. He had a really good at-bat and it was a big momentum shift for us.”
Mike Madura (Purdue Fort Wayne / Munster, Ind.) permitted two runs (one earned) on five hits in 5 1/3 innings while striking out seven and walking none. The Oilmen did not allow any walks in Saturday’s game and none over the first seven innings on Sunday, a span of 16 frames without a base on balls. On this four-game homestand, Oilmen starting pitchers combined for 27 strikeouts and issued no walks.
“It keeps the offense in it, keeps the defense on their toes and keeps everyone fresh when our pitchers are throwing strikes,” Cunningham said. “You can’t win games by walking people. We’ve had quality pitching for the last few days, and that’s been good see.”
Madura upped his record to 3-0, while Tommy Windt (South Suburban / Orland Park, Ill.) did not allow a hit over 3 2/3 scoreless innings while fanning five and walking two to register his first save.
The Oilmen (13-6) jumped on the board with two in the first before notching one in the fourth, two in the fifth, one in the sixth and one in the seventh. The team played errorless defense and executed well offensively. Angelo Cantelo (Lewis / Blue Island, Ill.) and Andre Demetral (Florence Darlington / Rochester, Mich.) registered two hits apiece.
The Oilmen remain ½ game behind DuPage County in the MCL standings, creating another face off for first place on Monday at 5 p.m. at Aurora Central Catholic High School. Andrew Fish and Tom Gorski will call that one on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, which is available via Facebook Live.
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