07/30/2013 11:25 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 30, 2013 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen opened the postseason in style with a 12-3 pounding of the Lexington Snipes on Tuesday night at Oil City Stadium. The Oilmen now hold a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three Midwest Collegiate League semifinal series and stand just one victory away from their second trip to the MCL finals.
The Oilmen seem to have a recipe for playoff success with a postseason record of 5-0 in their two years of existence. According to Oilmen manager Justin Huisman, that formula starts with strong starting pitching, which the Oilmen got in the form of Lake Central High School graduate Jimmy McNamara, who worked seven strong innings allowing three runs on seven hits to pick up the win.
“Getting a couple zeros on the board to start the game off is definitely a confidence booster,” McNamara said. “I just pounded the zone really; that was the key to my success today.”
The Oilmen struck in the first inning when Andrean High School product Kenny Mahala trotted home on a Nick Bartolone single. They ballooned the lead to six by virtue of a five-run third that included RBI singles from Leiff Clarkson, Mahala and Bartolone. Tyler Baar broke the game open and knocked Snipes starter Tyler Sabol out of the game with a two-run double.
Sabol was hammered for six earned runs in just two and two-thirds innings and took the loss.
“We didn’t know his ERA; we didn’t know anything about him,” Mahala said. “We just went up there and hit. Guys started sitting on pitches that they could drive instead of chasing stuff that he was flipping over for strikes.”
After the Oilmen posted the five spot in the third, McNamara cruised through the Snipes’ fourth on just five pitches.
“It’s very demoralizing when you get a big spot put up on you like that and then the pitcher goes out there and gets you right back on your heels,” Huisman said. “It was important for him to do that and it helped us cruise through the next couple of innings.”
NWI tacked on single tallies in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings before posting three additional runs in the eighth to account for the 12-3 final. Lexington did all of its damage against McNamara in the sixth inning as Jared Hendren, A.J. Fink and Adam Ariola secured RBIs. Aveeno Nasiloski and Nik Mason each worked scoreless frames in relief.
Clarkson, Bartolone, Baar and Jack Czeszewski finished with two hits each in the series opener. The MCL semifinal series moves to Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill. for game two on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Right hander Joe Cochran will pitch for the Oilmen after posting a 3.23 ERA in 14 regular-season appearances.
The game can be heard live on nwioilmen.com and AM 1230 WJOB as the Oilmen try to punch their ticket to the Midwest Collegiate League Championship Series for the second consecutive year. With Tuesday’s win, the Oilmen assured themselves at least one more postseason game at Oil City Stadium.