06/25/2016 9:40 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 25, 2016 – Adam Enright has known Clay Keltner since Keltner was 13 years old, so there’s no shortage of familiarity between the Oilmen manager and the NWI starting pitcher.
Enright knew what he was getting when he inked the former Highland High School standout, who needed just 73 pitches to hurl seven shutout innings in Saturday’s 10-0 win over Southland.
“Clay’s always been a strike-thrower and he’s really competitive,” Enright said. “He doesn’t really get phased by anything. He’s very even-keeled when it comes to pressure and adversity. Guys who throw a lot of strikes and don’t get rattled much are the guys that have a lot of success in this league.”
Keltner has found success, as the win on Saturday upped his record to 3-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.35. Enright made favorable comparisons between Keltner and 2015 MCL Pitcher of the Year, DuPage County’s Tom Conklin.
“That’s the same type of mental makeup that Clay has,” Enright said. “When guys make errors behind him, things don’t unravel for him. I knew in this league that would be very important, because you might have a day where you don’t have your best lineup out there or you might have a few calls go against you.”
The Oilmen (11-11) jumped onto the scoreboard with a four-run fourth inning that started with two outs and nobody on base. The Oilmen rapped off six straight hits, highlighted by a two-run Chase Dawson double. Dawson (Valparaiso / Chesterton, Ind.) followed his four-hit performance from Friday with another multiple hit game by going 2-for-4 plus a walk.
“His thing is his zone recognition,” Enright said. “The first at-bat was bad because he extended the zone up. After that, he was looking for one area of the plate, and when he got it, he put a quick, aggressive swing on it.”
The Oilmen scored in the sixth as Cory Krolikowski drew a leadoff walk and eventually came around to score. They poured on five in the eighth as the Oilmen racked up five hits and were aided by three Southland errors, including two on one play.
The win allows the Oilmen to leapfrog the Vikings (10-11) in the league standings. Southland starter Michael Shereyk yielded four runs on eight hits in five innings to take the loss and fall to 1-3.
Five different Oilmen players had multiple hit games, led by Alex Nisle (St. Joseph’s College / St. John, Ind.), who recorded his first three-hit game of the summer and drove in a run, his sixth straight game with at least one RBI.
The Oilmen will look to upstage the first-place Joliet Admirals on Sunday afternoon. It’s a Family Sunday with all lawn seats available for the discounted price of $2. Kids will have the opportunity to run the bases after the game. Tickets are available now on NWIOilmen.com.