By: Brandon Vickrey
Hammond, Ind. – Aug. 3, 2020 – The day started about as favorably as possible for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen, but the Southland Vikings had the last laugh on Monday evening at Dowling Park in Hammond.
The Oilmen scored twice without making an out, but the next 27 outs were recorded without another run scoring in a 4-2 setback to the host Vikings.
The first five Oilmen batters reached base, and the team had the bases loaded with no outs and two runs in the bank in the top of the first, but they walked away with only a two-run edge as Southland starter Jacob Kampf sent down three straight.
“We’ve got to get a little more than two in that inning with the bases loaded and nobody out,” Oilmen manager Chris Cunningham said. “You’ve got to step on the gas in that situation, but we didn’t. Their pitcher has a good arm, and once he found his groove, he got in a rhythm and shut us down. He’s a guy who fills the zone with strikes and has a good breaking ball.”
Kampf settled in from that point forward, yielding just the two runs on five hits over five frames while receiving no decision. Nathan Jandraszkiewicz (1-0) eventually picked up the victory with two scoreless innings of one hit ball before Mike Tobin put up two zeros as well to nail down his sixth save.
RBI singles by Tyler Nelson (Indiana / Crown Point, Ind.) and Angelo Cantelo (Lewis / Blue Island, Ill.) accounted for the early 2-0 lead, which stood until a three-run sixth for the Vikings (15-13). All three runs scored on a drive to deep right that the Oilmen right fielder nearly hauled in, but could not make the play while battling the wind. It went as a go-ahead, bases-clearing triple for Logan Anderson.
“We’ve got to play better defense in the outfield,” Cunningham said. “I know the wind was a factor, but we’ve got to find a way to catch those balls. In the game of baseball, you to move on to the next day, so we’ve got to flush this one and come back tomorrow with a good attitude to try to get a win.”
The Vikings pushed across an insurance run in the seventh, and held on to win despite being outhit 8-7. Kyle Iwinski (Kankakee CC / Griffith, Ind.) took a tough-luck loss, allowing three runs on three hits, two walks and five strikeouts in six innings. Joe Graziano (Butler / Schererville, Ind.) permitted one run on four hits while striking out four in his two innings of relief. Iwinski saw his record slip to 2-1.
Nelson finished with three hits to lead the Oilmen.
DuPage County also lost on Monday, so the Oilmen (18-8) remain locked in a tie for first place in the MCL standings entering Tuesday’s matchup with the Hounds. The battle for first will begin at 5 p.m. at Aurora Central Catholic High School in Aurora, Ill. and will be streamed on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network via Facebook Live with Brandon Vickrey and Andrew Fish on the call.
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