07/10/2021 12:13 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 9, 2021 – The route to get there has varied, but the end result has remained constant for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen during the team’s recent stretch of success.
For the 11th time in the last 12 games, the Oilmen ended the night with a victorious handshake line following Friday’s 8-0 whitewash of the visiting Crestwood Panthers at Oil City Stadium.
There were only six total hits in the game, five of which belonged to the Oilmen, as manager TJ Marik’s team continued to find new ways to win.
“Today we struggled offensively, but we still found ways to get on base, which is huge,” Marik said. “We had a completely different lineup from yesterday with only two of the same guys playing. I’m super confident in every guy on the roster. Today what stuck out to me was our defense. We played spectacular defense, and our arms pitched tremendously well.”
One of the five Oilmen hits was a long grand slam off the bat of Casey Kmet (Notre Dame / Arlington Heights, Ill.), whose fourth-inning blow changed the complexion of the game. Kmet homered for the second straight night, this time greeting a newly-entered Crestwood reliever with the most significant swing of the evening.
“Honestly, that was the turning point tonight,” Marik said. “A lot of momentum went our way after that, and it carried us through the rest of the game. Our pitching and defense holding that momentum was huge.”
The Oilmen offense worked 15 walks but incurred 12 strikeouts in the game. However, the big story of the night was the pitching staff, which yielded just one hit after combining on a no-hitter earlier in the week. Catcher Luke Napleton (Quincy / La Grange, Ill.) has caught two games since joining the Oilmen – a combined no-hitter and Friday’s one-hitter.
Starting pitcher Jacob Bimbi (Wabash Valley / Crystal Lake, Ill.) did not permit a hit and struck out seven while walking two in four frames to earn the victory, upping his record to 4-0. He has received the win in every game he’s pitched this season. Nick Heiden (Webster / Minooka, Ill.) followed with three shutout innings, then Hunter Keim (Saint Leo / Rock Island, Ill.) worked “six up, six down” over the final two frames.
Bimbi has not allowed an earned run this season and has racked up 24 strikeouts in just 12 1/3 innings of work.
“Bimbi is a guy who everyone thinks very highly of,” Marik said. “There are times when he gets behind in counts, but he climbs back and gets even or ahead, and his strikeout numbers show that. The number of swings and misses he gets is very impressive.”
The Oilmen (14-5) will continue the homestand on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. against the MCL Minutemen at Oil City Stadium. Tickets will be available at the ticket window prior to the contest. Brandon Vickrey and Andrew Fish will have the call on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, available on AM 1230 WJOB and JED-TV.