By: Brandon Vickrey
Whiting, Ind. – Aug. 14, 2020 – One clutch, go-ahead hit was noteworthy enough, but Costa Sirounis (Indiana / Munster, Ind.) turned the trick twice on Friday night at Oil City Stadium.
He cracked a two-run, two-out single in the third to give the Northwest Indiana Oilmen their first lead of the day at 4-3, then put his team ahead for good with a two-run double in the eighth in an eventual 6-5 victory over the MCL Minutemen in the regular season finale at Oil City Stadium.
“I’ve trusted my work and gone out there competing on every pitch this summer,” Sirounis said. “Being around other guys who have played in college has been valuable to feed off their energy and see the way they prepare themselves and go about their business. Tonight, I fell behind in my at-bats and was battling with two strikes. In both those at-bats, I worked the count even and was looking for a fastball I could turn on.”
Sirounis’ two-hit day led an offensive attack that also featured two hits apiece from Tyler Nelson (Indiana / Crown Point, Ind.) and Tommy Windt (South Suburban / Orland Park, Ill.).
“Costa has been as hot as anybody on our team,” Oilmen manager Chris Cunningham said. “He’s had big hit after big hit for the last two weeks of the season. He played a big part for us, which has been nice to see.”
Eddie Wilkins (Illinois Springfield / Braidwood, Ill.) pitched the final three innings for the Oilmen and earned the victory by limiting the Minutemen (12-22) to one run on two hits. Nic Vitiritti was on the other end of the decision after permitting a pair of runs in his only inning of work.
The win marked the third straight for the Oilmen (24-11), who had clinched their second MCL regular season crown the day prior. Northwest Indiana won nine of the 11 regular-season meetings against the Minutemen.
The Oilmen will meet the DuPage County Hounds on Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. in Game 1 of the best-of-three MCL Championship Series.
“Our pitching and defense has been solid, so as long as we can do that, we’ll be alright,” Cunningham said. “Hopefully we can continue that into the weekend. We want to play some good baseball against a tough opponent. Our players have enjoyed the summer; we’ve been around each other just about every day. Through the whole grind, they’ve been here, so they’re excited to try to finish strong this weekend.”
Game 2 will take place on Sunday at 6:10 p.m., before the decisive third game if necessary at 7:10 p.m. on Monday. Brandon Vickrey and Andrew Fish will call the entire series on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, which is available via Facebook Live.
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