By: Brandon Vickrey
Lansing, Ill. – July 29, 2020 – Errorless defense and a double-figure run output provided a winning formula for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen on Wednesday afternoon.
The Oilmen jumped out to the early lead with a three spot in the top of the first and tacked on five important insurance runs in the top of the ninth, fending off a late power surge to beat the host MCL Minutemen 10-8 at Lansing Old Timers Field.
“We’ve been swinging the bats well for most of the last week,” Oilmen manager Chris Cunningham said. “We didn’t get a lot of barrels today, but we came up with a couple big hits that we needed and that was the key to the win. We’ve played some great defense the last few days. That keeps the pitch counts down and keeps the hitters fresh, so it’s very important.”
The Oilmen (15-7) and Minutemen (8-15) were locked in a 3-3 tie as late as the seventh inning before the game went haywire late. The Oilmen pushed across the go-ahead run in the seventh as Tommy Farrell (UIC / Chicago, Ill.) and Nick Anderson (Arkansas Fort Smith / Highland, Ind.) each notched singles in a frame that was aided by a Minutemen miscue. Tyler Nelson (Indiana / Crown Point, Ind.) doubled to lead off the eighth and scored a moment later on a single by Kendal Ewell (Eastern Kentucky / Calumet City, Ill.).
Ryan Howe started the bottom of the eighth with a solo homer to shrink the NWI lead to one, but the Oilmen exploded for five in the top of the ninth to open up a 10-4 cushion. The bottom of the ninth inning featured two more Minutemen home runs as Lucas Broske led off with a big fly before Patrick Doran launched a three-run blow with two outs to make it 10-8. Terry Busse (South Suburban / Valparaiso, Ind.) eventually recorded the final out.
Reigning MCL Pitcher of the Week Kyle Iwinski (Kankakee CC / Griffith, Ind.) was the winning pitcher despite scattering 10 hits over six innings of three-run ball. He struck out five and issued no walks on his way to upping his record to 2-0. Starter Jacob Frencl (1-4) took the defeat for the Minutemen.
“The last two innings were Kyle’s best today,” Cunningham said. “He started out a little shaky, but he found a way. He always battles and he’s always going to give you quality innings.”
The Oilmen racked up 14 hits with six different players enjoying multi-hit contests. Nelson’s first of two doubles plated the first two runs of the game in the opening inning.
“Tyler had been struggling just a bit, so it was nice to see him break out of it today,” Cunningham said. “He’s a guy that we really rely on and he’s a big part of what we’re doing here.”
Northwest Indiana will be back home on Thursday night to welcome in the Southland Vikings for a 7:10 p.m. start at Oil City Stadium. Tickets are available now on NWIOilmen.com, and those who cannot attend and check out the broadcast on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network via Facebook Live with Brandon Vickrey and Jack Theil describing the action.
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