Baseball: Oilmen fall 11-2 to Chicago Zephyrs
By Dave Melton For Sun-Times Media June 25, 2014 10:38PM
Larry Crisler, of the NWI Oilmen, connects for a double against the Chicago Zephyrs at Oil City Stadium Wednesday. | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 27, 2014 8:34AM
WHITING — On paper, nothing about this match-up favored the Chicago Zephyrs, who traveled to Oil City Stadium to face the Northwest Indiana Oilmen.
The Oilmen held an 11-2 all-time record against the Zephyrs, including a perfect 7-0 mark at home. The Zephyrs offense ranked near the bottom of the Midwest Collegiate League in almost every category, and they were facing one of the Oilmen’s top arms in Jimmy McNamara.
But none of those trends continued Wednesday night, as the Zephyrs jumped out to an early lead and ran away in an 11-2 blowout victory over the Oilmen (11-6, 9-5).
The Zephyrs (3-13) jumped on McNamara right away, as leadoff man Bobby Smith (3-for-4, 4 runs) doubled to start the game. He later scored on a single by John Brodner, who scored later in the inning.
“He didn’t have a good night. He knows what he did wrong,” Oilmen manager Justin Huisman said of McNamara. “I don’t care what team you’re facing or how good they’re hitting at the time … if you throw the ball where he was, you’re going to get hit around. But he’ll be fine in his next outing. I believe that.”
It got worse in the second inning, thanks in part to some Oilmen miscues. Two errors were responsible for putting runners on base. Another error occurred when a throw to second base in an attempt to catch Chris Wido stealing ended up in the outfield, as neither Oilmen player in the vicinity went to catch the throw. Aided by those errors, the Zephyrs added three more runs in the inning.
A 5-0 lead after two innings was more than enough run support for Chicago starter Ben Krusen. Entering the game with a 0-2 record and a 5.29 ERA, Krusen went the route, allowing two runs on two hits while walking eight and striking out 12.
“Everything out of the windup was working really well,” Krusen said. “For the most part, my slider was really my go-to pitch all night.”
“I think this whole team is starting to come around,” he continued. “I think if we can just string a few wins together we can start battling our way back into it.”