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Oilmen open title defense with rout of Lexington

Whiting's Tyler Baar reacts getting thrown out after hitting 2 run double 3rd Oil City Stadium Tuesday July 30 2013.

Whiting's Tyler Baar reacts to getting thrown out after hitting a 2 run double in the 3rd at Oil City Stadium on Tuesday July 30, 2013. | Jim Karczewski~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 30, 2013 10:18PM



WHITING — Entering the playoffs, Lexington starter Tyler Sabol had pitched 361/3 innings, allowing just four earned runs. None of those innings came against the Northwest Indiana Oilmen, however — the Midwest Collegiate League’s highest-scoring offense.

The Oilmen tagged Sabol for six runs in 22/3 innings of work — including five in the third inning — on their way to a 12-3 victory in Game 1 of their playoff series with the Snipes.

“I think he got hurt by falling behind in counts,” said Oilmen manager Justin Huisman. “He was 2-0 and 3-1 a lot and not too many pitchers do well when you’re consistently going deep into counts like that.”

After Lexington went 1-2-3 in the top of the first, the Oilmen took a 1-0 lead after Kenny Mahala—an Andrean product—drew a two out walk, stole second and then scored on Nick Bartolone’s RBI single.

Two innings later, the Oilmen put Lexington away. No. 9 hitter Joe Houlihan drew a leadoff walk, followed by a Jack Czeszewski single. Next, Leiff Clarkson, Mahala and Bartolone each connected for RBI singles, moving their lead to 4-0. After a sacrifice bunt, Tyler Baar doubled off of the wall in right field, bringing home Mahala and Bartolone.

“We were just sitting on a fastball,” said Mahala, who had an RBI single and scored three runs while drawing three walks. “Guys started sitting on pitches that they could drive instead of chasing the stuff that he was flipping up there for strikes.”

After that rally, Oilmen ace Jimmy McNamara — a Lake Central graduate — sat down the Snipes in order with a five-pitch fourth inning. Lexington did score three runs in the sixth, but that was all the damage McNamara allowed. In seven innings of work, he tossed just 78 pitches, allowing seven hits and one walk with four strikeouts.

“That (fourth inning) was huge. After you score big runs, that’s always the big moment to put them away,” the lefty said while waving at his mom in the crowd. “And being able to do it that fast with just five pitches, that was a big momentum swing for us.”

The scariest part of McNamara’s outing came when he took a line drive off of his pitching hand in the sixth inning.

“I was a bit dramatic with the glove throw,” he joked while waving to his mother in the crowd. “It stung at first, but it was fine.”

Joe Cochran (4-1, 3.23 ERA) will take the mound for the Oilmen in Game 2 on Wednesday night (7 p.m.) at Illinois Wesleyan University.



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