The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Defense hurts Oilmen in loss to Vikings

06/11/2016 10:19 PM -

Whiting, Ind. – June 11, 2016 – Oilmen starting pitcher Max Siedlecki has shined in each of his three starts this season, but the rest of the team hasn’t done its part to allow the New Mexico Highlands right-hander to record a win.

Siedlecki impressed again on Saturday, but was victimized by wobbly defense as the Oilmen committed six errors on their way to a 10-9 loss to the Southland Vikings.

“He might be our best arm as far as competing and being able to win games,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “It hasn’t showed yet because we haven’t played well behind him for one reason or another. He’s got a good attitude about it. He knows he’s doing his job.”

The junior pitcher was charged with six runs, but only one earned on eight hits and five walks in five innings. The bullpen was relatively strong after his departure, as Richard Yelnick and Hunter Clark worked scoreless frames and the only tally against Jay Gutierrez was unearned.

The Vikings (5-5) grabbed their first lead with five runs in the fifth, but the Oilmen (5-8) chipped away and eventually regained the advantage with a go-ahead double by Tommy Szczasny in the eighth. James Whiteman suffered his first blown save of the year in the ninth, allowing three runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk to hand the lead back to the Vikings.

The Oilmen threatened again in the bottom of the ninth with runners on first and second and nobody out, but top of the order bats Tyler Sroczynski and Chase Dawson were both retired without advancement from the runners. Chris Baker cracked a run-scoring single to slice the deficit to one, but Josh Fewell bounced back to the mound to end the game.

The six errors tied the most ever by the franchise. The last time the Oilmen committed six errors in a game was June 27, 2012, a 14-13 loss to the Will County CrackerJacks. They also made six errors on June 1, 2012, the first game in team history at DuPage County.

“We were all thumbs (on Saturday),” Enright said. “We just didn’t attack a couple of balls. We were playing it on our heels. That turned into one booted ball and one throwing error. We also stranded a lot (13) of base runners again.”

Enright said the absence of veterans like Stefano Belmonte and Brad Bohlen played a factor in terms of the errors becoming contagious.

“When things are going bad around inexperienced players, they get sucked into it instead of being the guy that makes it stop,” Enright said. “It shouldn’t be (contagious), but for guys that look around to see what’s going on around them, that tends to happen.”

The Vikings pitching staff issued 10 free passes on six walks and four hit batters, while the Southland defense made four errors of its own.

Three previously-slumping Oilmen had multiple hit games as Fewell, Alex Nisle and Jordan Flint contributed two hits apiece. Fewell snapped an 0-for-14 slump with his bloop, run-scoring single in the fifth.

Dawson had his four-game hitting streak snapped, while Sroczynski saw a stretch of four consecutive multi-hit games come to an end.

The loss for Whiteman was his first decision this season. Xavier Luna (1-0) notched the win despite allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks over three innings out of the Southland bullpen.

The Oilmen will attempt to bounce back on Sunday afternoon against the Joliet Admirals. The first pitch is slated for 4 p.m. on Family Sunday, with lawn seats available for the discounted price of $3 and all kids 12 and under receiving the opportunity to run the bases after the game.