Baseball: Rain puts damper on Oilmen’s run at record
WHITING — The Northwest Indiana Oilmen will have to wait one more night for a chance to establish a franchise record for consecutive victories.
Rain and lightning poured in from right field Thursday night, halting the Oilmen’s game vs. the Chicago Zephyrs (2-9) after three innings.
The Oilmen (9-4, 7-3 Midwest Collegiate League) will go for a franchise record seventh straight win Friday night against the Joliet Admirals (3-9).
According to manager Justin Huisman, the recent run of success is a teamwide effort.
“I think, in the past week, we’ve done a much better job in every facet,” he said. “Our pitching has really come around, we’re getting some clutch hits here and there and we’re doing some things on the basepaths to help out.”
It was the pitching in particular that Huisman called the team’s “backbone.”
One of the top arms on the mound for the Oilmen — once again — has been Lake Central product Jimmy McNamara, who has a 2-0 record and a 2.64 ERA in three starts. McNamara tossed three scoreless innings Thursday night before the game was called.
“I think I’ve been doing a good job of getting ahead of hitters,” he said.
The numbers reflect McNamara’s assertion: He’s allowed just one walk in 17 innings.
Highland native Keith Mahler has bolstered the Oilmen rotation with his 1.58 ERA in three starts. The bullpen has been anchored by closer Matt Pobereyko. In seven appearances, the Bishop Noll product has six saves and a 1.17 ERA.
Two more Lake County natives have been appearing near the top of the order: Lake Central alum Ryan Burvan in the leadoff spot and Munster’s Craig Dedelow hitting third.
Both players were hoping to get more swings this summer than they did while at college.
“It’s awesome, being able to play every day,” Burvan said after redshirting at Purdue. He’s tied for the team lead with 13 hits while posting a .325 batting average. “I’m playing all right; but I could be better. I can definitely play better defense and square the ball up more (while hitting).”
Dedelow saw some playing time while at Indiana in the spring, but he’s been a staple in the middle of the Oilmen order since returning from Bloomington last week.
“After not having many opportunities during the school year, I’ve been excited about this,” Dedelow said.
Dedelow cranked two doubles — driving in three runs — during Sunday’s 8-0 win over the Zephyrs. “I just want to get everything with my bat down ... get my swing better,” he said.