Oilmen sweep Foresters in twin bill
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent July 23, 2013 11:26PM
Updated: August 25, 2013 6:40AM
WHITING — It’s been a grueling stretch for the NWI Oilmen.
Tuesday night’s twin bill with the Rockford Foresters marked the Oilmen’s fifth doubleheader in the last 11 days, thanks to a June schedule that was frequently interrupted by summer storms.
In the last two weeks, the Oilmen have played a total of 16 games, posting a 10-6 record in that span, including a pair of victories on Tuesday night against the Foresters (5-19).
“Luckily, our starters have done an outstanding job,” Oilmen manager Justin Huisman said. “What you worry about is having to take out a starter early and expending your bullpen. But that hasn’t happened; that’s made the stretch easier to take.”
Hanover Central graduate and 2011 Post-Tribune Player of the Year Andy Wellwerts was the story in Game 1, hurling a complete-game shutout to lead the Oilmen (21-12) to a 5-0 victory. In his seven innings of work, Wellwerts allowed four hits and one walk to go with seven strikeouts.
“I felt really good out there. I was working my fastball and my changeup; I didn’t throw many sliders or curveballs,” said Wellwerts. “I was able to control the strike zone pretty well.”
Wellwerts didn’t need much support, and two first-inning runs by the Oilmen offense provided enough cushion to secure the victory.
In Game 2, the Oilmen trailed 6-1 after five innings, before exploding in the sixth inning for a 12-6 come-from-behind win.
NWI sent 17 batters to the plate in the sixth, cranking out a franchise-record 11 runs on seven hits, five walks, one hit batter and two Rockford errors. Highlighting the rally was Craig Austgen’s double to the wall in right field, which scored three runs, putting NWI ahead 8-6 at the time.
Said Huisman: “It was just a combination of finally not swinging at balls down in the zone and making them throw strikes. We were patient and just took advantage; Craig finally got a pitch to drive and he did exactly what he’s supposed to do with it.”