Whiting, Ind. – Aug. 4, 2022 – The Crestwood Panthers may not be a postseason team, but the Northern League’s unpredictability in 2022 struck again on Thursday night at Oil City Stadium.
The visiting Panthers started a three-game series with a convincing 15-5 win over the host Northwest Indiana Oilmen, a loss that was detrimental to the team’s chances of finishing third in the league standings.
“That’s just the game of baseball,” Oilmen manager Adam Enright said. “The one guy on the mound typically has a large impact on a team game, more so than anyone else on the field. With different pitchers every day, you’re relying on different guys to pitch throughout the summer and it makes every day interesting as far as who is going to have the best shot to win.”
After the teams exchanged first-inning runs, the Panthers put up crooked numbers in three of the next four frames, scoring three in the second, two in the third and six in the fifth. The six-run fifth featured several Oilmen miscues and put the game out of reach. The Oilmen issued eight walks, hit three batters and committed three errors.
“It becomes contagious, especially when you’re down by a good amount,” Enright said. “You start to look forward to the next game and the hope of winning the game starts to fade away. The effort and focus level taper off when you have multiple mistakes in the same inning.”
Jack Zebig and David Marshall had two hits apiece to pace the offense. The Oilmen put up single tallies in the first, fourth and seventh innings in a game where they were outhit 12-7.
The Oilmen need one more win to clinch their 11th straight winning season and must win each of the next two nights and get help in order to get the No. 3 seed in the Northern League playoffs.
“The seed is kind of irrelevant at this point,” Enright said. “No matter what, we’re going to have to go through the best team, whether it’s in the semifinal game or in the championship series. I’m not concerned about the seeding, but I am focused on playing good baseball and making it more consistent.”
The Oilmen (23-22) and Panther (17-24) will face off again on Friday night at 7:10 p.m. It’s Elvis Night at Oil City Stadium with the pregame performance beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are available now on NWIOilmen.com. For those who cannot attend, Brandon Vickrey and Joshua Lipowski will have the call on the Oilmen Broadcasting Network, which is available via Region Sports, JED-TV, AM 1230 WJOB and Facebook Live.