Assessing his team’s various elements on Monday afternoon ahead of the postseason, Northwest Indiana Oilmen manager Justin Huisman noted that offensive inconsistency was an issue this summer.
So far in the Midwest Collegiate League playoffs, hitting hasn’t been a problem.
A franchise-record 23 hits Wednesday night in Bloomington, Ill., attest to that.
After a five-run eruption in in the third inning of Game 1 on Tuesday, the Oilmen scored seven runs on six hits in the fifth and went on to win the second game 17-9 and sweep the Lexington Snipes out of the best-of-three league semifinal series.
In two years of existence, the defending league champion Oilmen are 6-0 in the postseason.
The Midwest Collegiate League championship series begins Friday at Oil City Stadium in Whiting, where the host Oilmen (29-16) take on the Southland Vikings, who swept DuPage County in the other semifinal series.
Oilmen leadoff man Jack Czeszewski reached base six times in seven plate appearances with five hits, tying a franchise record, and all but one Oilmen starter had at least one hit.
The Snipes (20-15) took a 4-3 lead in the third inning and extended it to 7-3 before the error-laden, treacherous fifth inning doomed them.
Oilmen starting pitcher Joe Cochran followed his team’s offensive outburst with a six-pitch, three-up, three-down inning to keep the Snipes at bay.
Cochran allowed seven runs in five innings but took the win.
Both teams left 12 men on base.
The Oilmen led 2-0 in the first on back-to-back RBI singles by Leiff Clarkson and Tyler Baar and 3-0 on a bases-loaded walk by Nick Bartolone in the second.