08/07/2023 10:53 PM -
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen woke up on the wrong side of the bed on Monday, with walks and errors being a recurring theme to open up the playoffs. In the first game of a best-of-three series, the Oilmen dropped game one, and will face elimination for game two’s contest at Oil City Stadium.
The Oilmen pitching staff never found its groove, dropping Monday night’s contest 11-5. The Oilmen trailed the entire game, and could not contain the Vikings ace, Nolan Vlcek. Vlcek, the 2023 Northern League Pitcher of the Year, pitched 7 ⅔, striking out eight while being charged with five runs.
“His fastball had good carry on it, where he can deliver a lot of swings and misses up in the strike zone,” Oilmen Manager Adam Enright said. “He commanded off-speed for strikes, which was very useful when we were sitting on fastballs.”
The Vikings really took control in the fifth, tacking on seven runs and taking a 9-1 lead. Both Michael Carrano and Colin Small took charge at the plate for Southland, Carrano going 3-for-6 with two RBIs, and Small going 3-for-5, also with two RBI’s.
While the Oilmen offense totaled 10 hits, the defense and pitching staff allowed the game to get out of hand quickly. The Oilmen defense recorded four errors on Monday, and the team’s pitching staff walked 11 batters in the game. Oilmen starter Brandon Laux Allowed five runs while walking six in 4 1/3 innings.
“It’s disappointing to see how many free passes we gave up, and how poor the quality of pitches were when we were ahead in counts,” Enright said.
The Oilmen had a small offensive spark in the eighth, after Angelo Cantelo scored on a wild pitch, and a Randy Seymour RBI single cut the deficit to 11-5. However, the Oilmen stranded the bases loaded.
The Oilmen now face elimination on Tuesday, August 8 against the Southland Vikings. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. at Oil City Stadium.