Updated: September 3, 2013 7:17AM
It’s all starting to sound awfully familiar for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen.
One year after the Oilmen captured the Midwest Collegiate League championship in their inaugural season, they have moved one step closer to repeating by sweeping the Lexington Snipes in the first round of the 2013 MCL playoffs.
They ended the Snipes’ season on Wednesday night with a 17-9 victory on the road.
“We’ve had a lot of new faces, so it’s their first time experiencing a championship series in this league,” said Oilmen manager Justin Huisman, who has his team on the verge of its second title in as many seasons of existence. “We’re happy to be back.”
The Oilmen spotted starter Joe Cochran an early lead with a pair of runs in the first inning. That lead was moved to 3-0 in the top of the second, before Lexington cut that deficit to 3-2 on the bottom of that inning.
Lexington took the lead on the bottom of the third and, by the top of the fifth inning, Lexington held a 7-3 lead over the Oilmen.
Then — just as it did on Tuesday night — the Oilmen’s offense took over the game.
A total of nine runs crossed the plate in the fifth inning, as the Oilmen turned the Snipes into nothing but a memory. NWI’s 12-7 lead after the top of the fifth proved to be too much for Lexington to overcome — but that didn’t stop the Oilmen offense from pouring on a few more runs.
Three more runs crossed the plate in the ninth inning, giving the Oilmen 16 runs in the ballgame. They hammered out 23 hits, setting a new franchise record — they’d totaled 22 hits two times last season.
“If we can hit the ball like that — or even close to that — it should be a good championship series for us,” Huisman said.
Jack Czeszewski also matched a franchise record with five hits in the game: four singles and one double. That tied the team record which was established in a 15-inning game.
With the Southland Vikings defeating the DuPage County Hounds in the other MCL semifinal, home-field advantage now swings in the Oilmen’s favor. Game 1 of the MCL championship series will be on Friday night at Oil City Stadium, with the first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.