Oilmen sweep doubleheader from Rockford to move within a game of 1st
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent July 13, 2013 11:14PM
Rockford's second baseman Drew Grotelueschen (1) puts the tag on NWI Oilmen's Rashawn Tillman as he slides into second base during the second game of a double header baseball game in Whiting, In., on July 13, 2013. | John Smierciak~for Sun-Times Media ORG XMIT: oilmen-PTB-071413-14
Updated: August 15, 2013 7:07AM
WHITING — Entering the night 1.5 games out of first place in the MCL standings, the NWI Oilmen had a prime opportunity to narrow that gap on Saturday with a doubleheader against the last place Rockford Foresters.
The DuPage County Hounds retained their hold on first place by winning its game against the Southland Vikings, but the Oilmen now trail by just one game after winning both of their seven-inning matchups with the Foresters.
“You have to assume that the other teams aren’t going to lose to them,” said Oilmen manager Justin Huisman. “I think (third-place) Lexington split against them the other day and that might be the difference of where you sit in the standings come playoff time. It was important to pull these games out even though it wasn’t pretty.”
NWI’s first win of the night came in unorthodox fashion. The Oilmen jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the game’s first four innings, with an RBI double from Andrean graduate Kenny Mahala highlighting a 3-run rally in the bottom of the fourth.
But starting pitcher Danny Pobereyko ran into a mountain of trouble in the fifth, surrendering a total of six runs and allowing Rockford to take the lead.
The Oilmen bounced back in the seventh inning with an RBI single from Tyler Baar, sending the game into extra innings.
In the bottom of the eight, Joe Houlihan’s sacrifice fly plated Gerrad Rohan to win the game. Aveeno Nasiloski, who took over for Pobereyko in the fifth inning, pitched 3.2 innings without allowing an earned run to take the victory.
“I think that, once you get on a roll like that—it happened last summer, too—it gets contagious,” Huisman said of his team’s late-inning magic. “As soon as you get a guy on base, you feel like anything can happen.”
The nightcap followed a similar script, as the Oilmen again grabbed an early lead, this time with a pair of runs in the first inning. Rashawn Tillman singled and Leiff Clarkson was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and each of them came around to score.
Brett Schneider took over from there, holding the Foresters to just one run in 6.1 innings of work.
“I felt like everything was on for me today,” said Schneider, who had his longest outing of the season. “I threw a couple of curveballs here and there but mostly it was just fastballs and changeups.”
Matt Pobereyko took over with one out in the seventh and runners on first and second. But he earned the save by quickly ending the game on a pair of strikeouts.