07/28/2015 10:20 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 28, 2015 – It will take a perfect week for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen to own home-field advantage in the first round of the postseason.
There are still four regular season games remaining, but the Oilmen took an emphatic first step toward that goal by dispatching Southland 10-4 on Tuesday night.
“Whenever you come out, play good defense, pitch well and hit, you like your chances of going into the next day with a good attitude and confidence,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “If we play well again (on Wednesday), we’ll be in the same situation on Thursday.”
Perhaps the most significant storyline of the night came when the game was already well at hand, with the Oilmen leading 10-2 in the eighth. Enrique Zamora entered the game in relief, needing one strikeout to move ahead of Danny Pobereyko for the team’s single-season franchise record.
Zamora wasted no time in sending down Jordan Jackson on strikes. As an encore, he proceeded to strike out the side, finishing the regular season with a team-record 55 strikeouts.
“His sharp breaking ball was on, and the fastball was down in the zone,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “That was good enough for me. I wanted to keep him sharp before his next start.”
Sam Bell received a spot start and allowed two runs on four hits and four walks over five innings. It was Bell’s first start of the summer, as he became the 10th Oilmen starting pitcher this season. He picked up the win to improve to 1-2.
“He was good for two or three innings, then he started getting a little tired,” Enright said. “That’s because he hasn’t thrown that many pitches all summer. He’s not built up to throw that many. We were hoping that he could get us through five.”
Southland’s Matt Sandoval was hit with the defeat, allowing six runs (two earned) on five hits in four innings. He drops to 1-1 on the season, with both decisions coming against the Oilmen.
Joe Jumonville had three hits and drove in three. He reached base in all four plate appearances and delivered a key two-out, two-strike, two-run double as part of a four-run first. The Oilmen added two more in the fourth and poured on four runs in the sixth to break it open.
“Every game has a team that’s setting the tempo and a team that’s trying to catch up,” Enright said. “The last couple days against the Vikings, we’ve been setting the tempo and they’ve been trying to catch us. We need to figure out how to do that against the Snipes, Hounds and Admirals come the end of this week.”
The Oilmen won eight of the nine meetings with the Vikings this season. With the defeat, Southland (12-26) is officially eliminated from playoff contention. For the first time in the league’s six-year history, the Vikings will not be a part of the postseason.
The Oilmen (23-17) are now 2 ½ games behind second-place Lexington for home-field advantage in the first round. The Oilmen need to win their four remaining games in order to gain home-field advantage for the opening round of the playoffs.
NWI hosts DuPage County on Wednesday at 7:10 at Oil City Stadium. If the Hounds win, they will clinch their second Midwest Collegiate League regular season title. It’s Wild Wednesday with all seats available for the discounted price of $5 and all kids 12 and under receiving free admission.