06/18/2023 6:22 PM -
On Sunday afternoon, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen made the trek to Nappanee, Ind. for their first road game in nine games. After the Oilmen's two- week homestand, they lost 6-2 to the Elkhart County Miracle on a beautiful 80-degree Father’s Day afternoon.
Starting for the Oilmen was RJ Bergren, making his third appearance this season, having only pitched four innings before Sunday's contest. Bergren commanded the zone well, walking just two batters, but gave up nine hits and six earned runs through six innings.
In Bergren’s outing, he utilized two types of pitches primarily, the fastball and breaking ball.
“[Bergren] has to understand that the changeup is what's going to look most like a fastball out of his hand and that's what plays at the higher levels to get soft contact and more swings and misses,” Oilmen Manager Adam Enright said.
Offensively, the Oilmen made consistent contact, just right at the defense at times. The Oilmen struck out just two times on Sunday, and were unable to convert contact into base hits. After trailing 6-0 through seven innings, the Oilmen had a two-run eighth inning, but could not overcome Elkhart County’s starter Robino Vasquez-Vallejo.
“I thought today was one of the better offensive days we’ve had in a while,” Enright said. “We hit three balls to the wall that got caught, had a couple line drives right at infielders; we didn’t have a whole lot of late swings or trouble with timing today. In my opinion, we did a really good job at the plate.”
Brenden Stressler broke open the scoring with an RBI double in the eighth inning, which gave the Oilmen their first run.
Vasquez-Vallejo was never meant to start, but he relieved Jose Mendoza from his duties after Mendoza dealt with an injury pregame. Vasquez-Vallejo pitched a complete game, allowing five hits and had a shutout going through seven innings.
Vasquez-Vallejo has only been used as a closer, as he leads the Northern League in saves with four.
The Oilmen now hold a 9-5 record, and travel to Dowling Park on Monday, June 19 to play the Southland Vikings at 5 p.m.