06/14/2014 9:42 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 14, 2014 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen have grown accustomed to playing in tight games this season, with five of their first six victories coming by two runs or fewer. Saturday night the Oilmen enjoyed a rare lopsided affair, defeating the Chicago Zephyrs 8-0.
In the process, Northwest Indiana extended its winning streak to four games, marking the team’s longest such stretch since June 18-24, 2013. The Oilmen are now 7-4 after starting the year with a 3-4 overall mark.
“Everyone’s got a lot of energy; everyone’s pretty confident,” infielder James Meeker said. “We’ve got some new guys and we’re meshing really well. I think we’re going to have a good season.”
Keith Mahler picked up his first win as a member of the Oilmen, tossing six innings of two-hit, shutout ball. Scott Jerge, Andrew Jackson and Aaron Glatt all hurled scoreless frames in relief. Jackson, a 2014 Kankakee Valley High School graduate, made his Oilmen debut with a scoreless eighth.
“It’s nice to finish like that and get those guys some innings,” Oilmen manager Justin Huisman said. “It’s been awhile since a lot of those guys have been on the mound, so it was nice to get them in there.”
Meeker reached base in four of his five plate appearances and went 3-for-4 with a double and three runs batted in. Meeker drove in the first run of the game in the bottom of the first, setting the tone for his big day at the plate.
Craig Dedelow, playing in his third game as a member of the Oilmen, spanked two doubles and drove in a total of three runs. Dedelow is making the adjustment to the Midwest Collegiate League after finishing his freshman year at Indiana.
“The most difficult part has been finding my role,” Dedelow said. “There, I was more of a guy that just filled a spot on the roster and everything else was extra. Here, I kind of feel like I have to do a little bit more. I don’t know if the coaches expect me to, but I expect myself to.”
The Oilmen held a 3-0 advantage for the bulk of the game before breaking it open with one run in the sixth, two in the seventh and two more in the eighth.
The Oilmen were without the services of closer Matt Pobereyko, who was unavailable after having pitched Thursday and Friday. The Oilmen offense ensured that a save situation did not arise by virtue of the eight-run outburst.
“I told (Pobereyko) that he wasn’t going to throw no matter what today,” Huisman said. “I typically don’t throw guys three days in a row, even though he’s been throwing the ball really well. When you start racking up saves like he has, you get excited and you want to be out there all the time. We’re going to play things smart this summer and make sure guys don’t get hurt.”
Chicago starter Kyle Cliff was charged with six runs on nine hits in seven innings and took the loss. The Zephyrs dropped to 2-9 on the season with the defeat. They are now 0-9 all-time at Oil City Stadium, 0-7 when opposing the Oilmen in Whiting. The Oilmen remain 1.5 games back of the DuPage County Hounds in the MCL standings.
The Oilmen round out the weekend with a 4:10 start against the Lexington Snipes on Sunday. It’s Father’s Day at the ballpark as all dads will have the chance to play catch with their children on the field following the game.