WHITING | With the wind howling around Oil City Stadium on Thursday, the Oilers needed to be on their toes defensively all game long.
While Whiting got the bats going in a 7-0 win against River Forest, playing perfect defense was perhaps just as important, as the Oilers advance to play Lake Station at 10 a.m. on Monday in the Class 2A Whiting Sectional.
That errorless defense tied in with the Oilers’ pitching, as Matt Dvorscak, Nick Filipek and Ian Plesha combined to allow just two River Forest hits.
“Dvorscak and Filipek are my top two pitchers,” Whiting coach Kevin Lenz said. “They haven’t pitched in a while. I had them at a pitch count. They did a good job pitching and we made some nice defensive plays.”
The Oilers made plays offensively up and down the lineup. Whiting (17-10) recorded eight hits and all nine batters in the lineup reached base at least once.
The Oilers came to life offensively in the second inning, putting up four runs. Matt Lowe led off the frame with a single. Joe Bondi, Caleb Strabavy and Justin Jendreas would all drive in a run during the inning.
“We have the guys that get runners in, we have guys that get on base, we have guys that move runners over,” Lenz said. “Up and down the lineup, it’s nice that we share the wealth a bit. We‘re on our way.”
Whiting would hold its 4-0 lead until the fifth inning, when the Oilers plated two runs on a two-run double from No. 6 hitter AJ Veloz.
Gio Cruz then drove in Jendreas in the sixth inning to send Jendreas home for Whiting’s final run.
The Ingots (7-16) committed seven errors, and the Oilers took advantage of the sloppy defense.
“Our pitcher (Chris Lauderback) pitched well enough to be in this game, but if we don’t back him up there’s nothing you can do,” Ingots coach Mark Zimmerle said. “I don’t think (the wind) had any factor in it (the errors).”