By: Brandon Vickrey
Whiting, Ind. – Aug. 6, 2020 – The ninth has been a magical inning for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen this season, but the heroics waited until the 10th on Thursday night at Oil City Stadium.
Nick Anderson (Arkansas Fort Smith / Highland, Ind.) cracked a two-run, walk-off double to deep right center, lifting the Oilmen to a 4-3 victory over DuPage County and into sole possession of first place in the Midwest Collegiate League standings. The Anderson double plated Conner Tomasic (South Suburban / Schererville, Ind.) and Tre’ Hondras (Michigan / South Holland, Ill.) after DuPage had tallied a run in the top of the 10th as the two teams used the automatic runner on second extra-inning format.
“It was a slow-moving game, but when push comes to shove late in games and we realize we need a win, that’s when we really focus and turn it up,” Anderson said. “We seem to always find ways to win, so we’ve just got to keep it going. He started me off with a fastball, it got up on me and I didn’t expect the high velocity. Today was a day where I was getting everything off the end of the bat, so I knew I had to wait on my pitch. I got it, and we won.”
DuPage County had jumped on the scoreboard with a pair in the fourth, but Angelo Cantelo (Lewis / Blue Island, Ill.) came up with a clutch two-run, two-out single in the sixth to level the score. Anderson had two of the team’s six hits as the Oilmen continue to find ways to pull out victories.
“Nick has been clutch all year,” Oilmen manager Chris Cunningham said. “He’s got a lot of strength; his power alley is to right center. He put a good short swing on it, and that’s the ball game. It’s been contiguous in the late innings. We’ve had so many walk-offs; I’ve never experienced anything like this. It’s been fun; we’re rolling. It makes the game more fun when you know you have a chance in the ninth.”
Mike Madura (Purdue Fort Wayne / Munster, Ind.) allowed two runs on six hits and no walks over six frames, before Joe Graziano (Butler / Schererville, Ind.) put up three scoreless innings of no-hit ball. Matt Litwicki (Indiana / Dyer, Ind.) upped his record to 1-1 by earning the victory as he limited the damage to one run (the runner who was placed on second) on one hit in the top of the 10th. Westin Stutzman (0-2) took the loss for the Hounds (19-10).
“Madura threw great again,” Cunningham said. “That’s his fifth quality start in a row. Graziano gave us three strong innings, then Litwicki was good. We were shifting because he throws so hard, and they beat it through the shift, but he pitched well and we did our thing.”
The Oilmen (20-9) rallied for a late victory for the second straight day after doing the same in the top of the ninth to defeat Joliet on Wednesday. The team has walked off with four wins this season.
The Oilmen will welcome the MCL Minutemen on Friday night for a $2 Miller Lite Pint Night. Tickets can be purchased on NWIOilmen.com. The game will begin at 7:10 p.m. and will be carried on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, which is available via Facebook Live, with Brandon Vickrey and Ryan Zimmerman on the call.
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