08/11/2020 8:01 PM -
Midlothian, Ill. – Aug. 11, 2020 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen are headed back to the Midwest Collegiate League Championship Series.
The Oilmen have sewed up their ninth playoff appearance in nine years in existence and their sixth trip to the MCL Finals after beating the Joliet Generals 7-3 on Tuesday at Howie Minas Field.
The best-of-three series will take place at Oil City Stadium beginning on Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. against either the DuPage County Hounds or the Crestwood Panthers.
The Oilmen (22-11) jumped in front in the opening inning, but Joliet (6-24) responded with two in the bottom of the frame on a single by Eddie Lovell. Mike Madura (Purdue Fort Wayne / Munster, Ind.) threw over 40 pitches in the first frame, but settled in after that to go four and permit just two runs on six hits while striking out six and walking one. Although he didn’t complete five innings, Madura (5-0) qualified for the win since the reason for his removal was a pitch-count limit. He became the first five-game winner for the Oilmen since 2016.
“He had a 41-pitch first inning,” Oilmen manager Chris Cunningham said. “He wanted to get through five, but he couldn’t. He battled to get through four, and kept the game close. We found a way to score some runs.”
After briefly trailing 2-1, the Oilmen gained a 3-2 edge as Andre Demetral (Florence Darlington / Rochester, Mich.) and Clay Thompson (Kankakee / Schererville, Ind.) each drove in runs. It stayed 3-2 until the sixth, when Thompson cracked a two-run single to extend the edge to three in an inning that saw the Oilmen make two outs on the base paths. The Oilmen added two more in the seventh before the Generals got one back in the bottom of the inning.
Tre’ Hondras (Michigan / Flossmoor, Ill.) had three hits to lead the way, while Angelo Cantelo (Lewis / Blue Island, Ill.), Demetral and Thompson all had multi-hit contests. Tommy Windt (South Suburban / Orland Park, Ill.), Brandon Tyler (Grambling State / Hammond, Ind.) and Terry Busse (South Suburban / Valparaiso, Ind.) combined for four innings of one-run relief.
“Tre’ hit the ball well today and was swinging a hot bat,” Cunningham said. “Demetral has been impressive all year and makes every play at second. Tip the cap to the bullpen as well, as our relievers came in and gave us five strong.”
The Oilmen will be off on Wednesday and will return to the diamond on Thursday night to host the DuPage County Hounds at 7:10 p.m. in the penultimate game of the regular season. The Oilmen currently hold a one-game lead over the Hounds for the top spot in the MCL entering Wednesday’s Hounds/Panthers game. Brandon Vickrey and Tom Gorski will have the call on Thursday on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, which is available via Facebook Live.