07/30/2017 10:12 PM -
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen have always been a staple of the Midwest Collegiate League playoffs. The Oilmen have made the MCL playoffs in each of their first five seasons and will start its sixth postseason run on Tuesday night, but this time around will include a team first.
The Oilmen finished the regular season with a record of 34-16, which blew away the previous team record for wins in a single season of 28. The record was good enough to earn first place in the MCL, the first time in team history Northwest Indiana had taken the league’s regular season title. The Oilmen take the No. 1 seed and home field advantage into this week’s MCL playoffs as a result.
It was a historic regular season for the Oilmen. Manager Adam Enright passed Justin Huisman for most wins in team history. Enright now has 87 wins to Huisman’s 82. Tyler Sroczynski’s 28 steals broke the team’s single-season steals record, and Chris Baker came in shortly behind him with 26. Before this season, the Oilmen record for stolen bases had been 22. Pitcher Rory Gard broke the single-season ERA record; in 22 innings (all in relief) he gave up just one earned run for an ERA of 0.41.
The Oilmen will play the No. 4 seed Bloomington Bobcats in the first round of the playoffs, while the second-seeded DuPage County Hounds play the No. 3 seed Southland Vikings. The Oilmen are 6-4 against the Bobcats this season, with wins in the last two meetings. Northwest Indiana and Bloomington played in the final game of the regular season, a game the Oilmen won 1-0.
The Oilmen are the reigning MCL champions after defeating the DuPage County Hounds in three games in the 2016 MCL playoffs. Northwest Indiana is playing for its third championship in six years after taking home the league crown in 2016 and 2012.
The Oilmen and Bobcats play the first of their best-of-three playoff series Tuesday at Oil City Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.