The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Oilmen, Panthers to Play Two on Father's Day

06/16/2018 11:36 PM -

Crestwood Panthers (1-11)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (7-8)

June 17, 2018 • 1 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)

Pitching Matchups
Game 1: NWI RHP Christian Howell (Minnesota State Mankato / Aurora, Ill.) vs. Crestwood RHP Dan Cryan (South Suburban / Orland Park, Ill.)
Game 2: NWI RHP Bobby Nowak (Kankakee CC / Cedar Lake, Ind.) vs. Crestwood LHP Stephen Gilbertsen (Illinois State / Chesterton, Ind. 

For Starters
The bad news for the Oilmen is that they hold a sub-.500 record through 15 games for the first time in franchise history. The good news is that the team is trending in the right direction, having won five of the last six games. The Oilmen enter a Father’s Day doubleheader with the Crestwood Panthers on a three-game winning streak, the team’s longest of the season. A DuPage County team that was averaging over 10 runs per game was held to three runs on five hits on Saturday night at Oil City Stadium. The Oilmen pieced together the victory with three position players combining to allow just one run on two hits over three innings on the mound to round out the game. Tom Kelley needed only nine pitches to send down the side in order in the ninth. That handed the Hounds just their second loss all season and snapped a six-game winning streak. 

Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen have scored eight runs or more in each of their last seven home games. The season is only 15 games old and Nate Montgomery has already joined an elite group of Oilmen who have three home runs or more in a single-season – Bill Miller (2012), Jordan Lewis (2015), Noah Davis (2017) and Tyler Sroczynski (2015, 2016, 2017). Chris Baker continues to extend his franchise record for career walks as he now has 80. Sroczynski is second on the all-time walks list with 51. Nick Figus extended his hitting streak to 11 games on Friday and now has six multi-hit games. The Oilmen will send Christian Howell to the mound for Sunday’s first game. He picked up the win with 7 2/3 innings of four-run ball while striking out nine on June 9 against Bloomington after beating Crestwood on Opening Night, allowing just two unearned runs. He’s 2-0 in 13 2/3 innings with a 2.63 ERA and 16 strikeouts, second on the team in strikeouts behind Brandon Hickey (22 in 14 IP). Bobby Nowak gets the Game 2 start after a bounce-back outing that saw him throw 2 1/3 scoreless innings at Southland on Wednesday. 

Inside the Panthers
The Panthers picked up their first win of the season by beating Southland 11-10 on June 9, but since that point they’ve dropped four consecutive games. After back-to-back one-sided defeats against Joliet and DuPage County on Wednesday and Thursday, the Panthers suffered a narrow 5-4 setback at Bloomington on Saturday. The Panthers fell despite outhitting the Bobcats 10-5. Crestwood led 4-2 in the seventh inning, but Bloomington scored twice in the seventh to tie it and once in the eighth to take the lead. Cole Blatchford hit his second home run of the season on Saturday and remains the only Panther who has homered. Blatchford also leads the team with a .377 batting average. Dan Cryan (0-1, 5 IP, 7.20 ERA) will start Game 1 before Stephen Gilbertsen (1 G, 6 IP, 7 R, 1 ER, Loss, June 13 at Joliet) gets the ball for Game 2. 

About the Matchup
The Oilmen own a 12-2 edge in the all-time series, which began last season when Crestwood joined the MCL. NWI has won each of the first three meetings of the year, dispatching the Panthers 15-4 on Opening Night in Crestwood before picking up a 13-4 win in the first Oil City Stadium meeting. The most memorable matchup of the year occurred this past Tuesday at Howie Minas Field, a marathon affair that saw the Oilmen pull out a 7-6 win in 15 innings. Sunday is a doubleheader, but if both games go the scheduled seven innings, there will be fewer innings on Sunday than there were on Tuesday night in Midlothian, Ill. in a single game.

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