07/06/2022 8:35 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 6, 2022 – The scene of a starting pitcher making an early exit with an injury was an all too familiar one on Wednesday afternoon at Oil City Stadium.
For the second consecutive home game, the starting pitcher departed early with a minor injury as a precaution. This time it was Mike Schalasky (University of Indianapolis / Palos Heights, Ill.) who exited after just 2 2/3 innings in an eventual 9-6 setback to the visiting Joliet Generals.
“He felt a little tightness in his bicep, so we don’t want to take any chances with that,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “I think he’ll be fine, but you never want to have anyone get hurt.”
The Oilmen pitching staff issued 11 walks on a day where the Generals (13-13) scored once in each of the first three innings before posting three spots in the fourth and seventh.
“Collectively, we struggled to make good two-strike pitches today,” Enright said. “We got ahead in a lot of counts, and then we were really avoiding throwing balls anywhere near the zone. We didn’t want to give up a well hit ball when we were ahead in the count, but that can’t be our mentality. We can’t pitch it to 3-2 and then have to make a perfect pitch. We walked multiple guys going from 0-2 to a walk. We gave up a lot of hits late in those counts because the hitters got to see five or six pitches. We have to be better at putting hitters away immediately soon after we get to two strikes.”
The Oilmen jumped out to a 2-1 lead by scoring twice in the bottom of the first as the first three Northwest Indiana batters reached base. However, Generals pitcher Sava Dupor locked in following a wobbly start, sending down nine straight and allowing no runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings.
“He started to throw more strikes and did a good job to induce a lot of ground balls,” Enright said. “We did not do a great job, especially when we got ahead in counts, of trying to hit balls for extra bases or do any damage. A lot of our contact was on the ground, and that leads to double plays and innings getting killed because balls on the ground on a wet field with thinker grass aren’t going to lead to a whole lot of offense."
The Oilmen broke through in the sixth, scoring twice on three hits in Dupor’s final inning of work thanks in part to an RBI double by Kyle Czarnecki (Kankakee CC / Minooka, Ill.). The Oilmen moved a step closer with two unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh, but Joliet’s Will Jaynes nailed down the save by retiring all six men he faced over the final two innings.
Chris Baker (Trinity Christian / South Holland, Ill.), Jason Hodges (John A. Logan / Park Forest, Ill.) and Jack Zebig (Maryville / Plainfield, Ill.) had two hits apiece for the Oilmen.
Wednesday’s matinee was played in front of a near capacity crowd of youngsters on Kids Day at the ballpark.
Northwest Indiana (16-14) will return to action on Thursday night for Thirsty Thursday against the Chicago American Giants beginning at 7:10 p.m. Tickets are available on NWIOilmen.com. The game will be broadcast on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network with Brandon Vickrey and Leo Staudacher on the call.