07/22/2016 10:12 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 22, 2016 – In a league filled with quality players, there’s something extra special about reigning Midwest Collegiate League MVP Tyler Sroczynski.
His efforts may not have been enough in Friday’s 5-3 loss to DuPage County, but the Oilmen leadoff man did everything in his power to swing a critical game Northwest Indiana’s way.
Sroczynski (Trinity Christian / Dyer, Ind.) started the game with a bang, as he led off the bottom of the first by rocketing one over the left-field wall for a home run. With the Oilmen trailing 5-1 in the sixth, Sroczynski delivered a two-run blow to slice the lead in half.
“There are some guys that you watch do things and the ball comes off their bat a little differently,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “It sounds different and the contact is just different. He has more God-given ability than the average college baseball player. Hopefully he continues to realize his potential and get better at what he does.”
Sroczynski also made a sliding catch in foul ground in right and threw a runner out at second for a double play to end the eighth.
After his second two-homer game of the year, Sroczynski is now in a four-way tie for the Midwest Collegiate League single-season home run record. His seven long balls match the mark set by Gary Mayberry (DuPage) and Joey Burney (DeKalb) in 2012 and later equaled by Adam Casson (Lexington) in 2014.
Sroczynski’s average is .336 this season after he hit .397 in the MCL a year ago, but Enright doesn’t believe his performance has tapered off.
“Even though his average isn’t as high, I think this is the best season of baseball that he’s had so far,” Enright said. “He’s getting two-out RBIs, something he rarely did last year. Even the ground ball he hit to short, he smoked. He’s got a lot of potential to do some pretty special things.”
DuPage County starter Nick Alfini threw a 136-pitch complete game – allowing three earned runs on eight hits while striking out five and walking five. He got the win and improved to 2-1.
“He got ground balls when he needed them,” Enright said. “We had a bunch of hard hit balls that turned into double play balls. That’s the tale of the tape when there’s two good teams playing. They had one more big hit than us, and that was it.”
Alfini induced three inning-ending double plays.
Oilmen starter Clay Keltner (Cornerstone / Highland, Ind.) allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits while striking out six over five innings. He took the loss to drop to 3-3.
The Oilmen bullpen shut down DuPage over the final four innings as Hunter Clark and Jordan Petty both heaved one scoreless inning, then Braden Niksich worked two shutout innings.
Tommy Szczasny (Northern Illinois / Tinley Park, Ill.) had three hits to lead the Oilmen, while Brandon Post posted three for the Hounds.
The Oilmen (24-19) slip to 1 ½ games behind first-place Joliet and ½ game behind second-place DuPage (24-18).
The Oilmen host Southland on Saturday at 7:20. It’s a Country Saturday Night with High Noon Band performing a pregame concert beginning at 6:15. Tickets are available now on NWIOilmen.com.