07/01/2017 8:19 PM -
WHITING, Ind. – July 2, 2016 – The Oilmen were 17-11 before Saturday night’s game against the Southland Vikings, but Northwest Indiana hadn’t had the same success against Southland as the rest of the MCL in 2017. NWI won only two of its first six games with Southland this season, and lost the seventh to the Vikings Saturday after giving up a late lead.
In the first inning, the Vikings’ offense came out with power. Tom Decero, the second batter of the game, hit a solo home run which gave Southland a 1-0 lead. The Oilmen responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first, and added another in the third to take a 3-1 lead. Oilmen outfielders Alec Olund, Tyler Sroczynski and Amir Wright all had RBIs to put NWI on top.
After the first inning home run, Oilmen starter Bo Hofstra only allowed one more run in his next five innings. The Oilmen led by three when the game entered the seventh inning after Alec Olund and Amir Wright got their second RBIs of the day in the fifth and sixth, respectively.
The top of the seventh inning started with a walk and a pair of singles to load the bases against Hofstra. He was taken out of the game in favor of Brian Jestice, who gave up a sacrifice fly which slimmed the lead to two but got the Oilmen their first out of the inning. Jestice hit the next batter to load the bases again, and Tom Decero then gave the Vikings the lead with one swing. Decero hit his second home run of the night, this one a grand slam over the scoreboard at Oil City Stadium. The Oilmen went from up 5-3 to down 7-5.
Southland added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth. NWI responded with one run in the bottom of the inning, but never came close to making up the four-run deficit. By a final of 9-6, the Oilmen fell to 17-12 on the 2017 season. The Oilmen are now just 2-5 against the Vikings this year and 15-7 against the rest of the MCL.
“[The Vikings] always play us really well,” Enright said. “I think they get a little motivated to play us, there’s a little extra chip on their shoulder and always has been. The Vikings and Oilmen have always had pretty good rivalries and season series… It’s good for the league to have teams that get up to play you and give you a very competitive game. It helps us.”
Hunter Kraynek got the win for the Vikings, while Brian Jestice was given the loss. The Oilmen are back at Oil City Stadium Sunday to face the Crestwood Panthers at 4 p.m.