The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Game Notes: Oilmen return home to do battle with Lakers

07/13/2016 11:03 AM -

Lakers (10-19)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (20-15)

July 13, 2016 • 7:20 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB, 104.7 FM

Pitching Matchup
NWI’s Reggie Johnson (Alcorn State / South Holland, Ill.) vs. Lakers’ Bobby Humphreys (Chesterton, Ind.)

For Starters
The Oilmen return to the diamond after three days off for the All-Star Break. They enter Wednesday looking to extend their winning streak to six after a perfect 5-0 road trip. The Oilmen are just ½ game behind first-place DuPage County. Since the Hounds are idle on Wednesday, an Oilmen victory would move them into a first-place tie. The last time the Oilmen owned a share of first place was July 9, 2015. The Oilmen have never won a regular-season MCL title. The Hounds won the regular season-season crown in 2013 and 2015, while the Vikings (2014), DeKalb County Liners (2012) and Rockford Foresters (2011) also own league titles. The Oilmen had 11 participants in Tuesday’s MCL All-Star Game, but the White All-Stars fell to Blue 10-2. Hunter Clark retired the side in order while throwing only seven pitches in the eighth inning. Clay Keltner and Braden Niksich also worked scoreless frames, while Tommy Szczasny had two hits.

Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen will look to uphold their team-wide strong pitching as Reggie Johnson takes the ball on Wednesday. His most recent start was his best of the year in an exhibition game against the U.S. Military All-Stars. He at one time retired 22 straight batters, but couldn’t get the last out he needed for a complete-game win and eventually took a tough-luck loss, although statistics from that game do not count. Johnson is trying to turn around his fortunes as he’s 0-5 in five starts. Johnson has struck out 20 and walked 16 in 23 1/3 innings while posting a 5.79 ERA. Johnson faced the Lakers on June 27 and took the loss while allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits and six walks in six innings. To put into perspective how good Oilmen pitching has been, Max Siedlecki’s ERA of 2.73 ranks seventh on the team, and would be first on the Bobcats, first on the Vikings, second on the Lakers, third on the Hounds and second on the Admirals. The Oilmen lead the league in team ERA at 2.89, well ahead of second-place DuPage at 4.10. The Oilmen pitching staff also leads the league in strikeouts with 235 and WHIP at 1.50. In addition, the Oilmen lead the league in hitting at .296. Stefano Belmonte (.398) and Tommy Szczasny (.395) rank one and two in the league in batting average.

Inside the Lakers
The Lakers’ most recent game came on Friday against the Vikings, an 8-7 extra-inning loss. The Lakers will turn the page to life without leading hitter Colin Willis, who has left the team to join the Eastside Diamond Hoppers of the United Shore Professional Baseball League. Lakers pitchers Casey Young and Chad Mateja worked scoreless innings in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, while Alec Olund had two hits and Max Kerr lashed an RBI single. This will be Bobby Humphreys fifth game and fourth start against the Oilmen this season. They scored seven runs (six earned) on six hits (including two homers by Jake Perreira) in five innings against him last week.

About the Matchup
The Oilmen swept a doubleheader from the Lakers last Wednesday to begin their current winning streak. They lead the season series 6-2 and all-time series 16-11. After Wednesday, the two teams meet twice more this season, July 20 and July 27 at Oil City Stadium.

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