Crestwood Panthers Fall In Season Opener to NWI Oilmen

05/29/2018 10:48 AM -

Midlothian, Ill. – May 28, 2018 – On a night defined by a lack of familiarity between the new Crestwood Panthers players, the team was plagued by issuing 22 walks to the Northwest Indiana Oilmen as they dropped the opener 15-4.   

The Panthers used four different pitchers in the loss, including starter Kyle Ostrowski (Tinley Park/John A. Logan College), the left-hander auditioned for two Lewis University scouts on hand. Ostrowski threw 1.1 innings, allowed five runs, scattered one hit, with four earned, issued nine walks and striking out three. while taking the loss.   

Despite the rough outing, manager Isaac Valdez saw a lot of positives out of his starter.  

“You will never see Kyle pitch like that again this season,” stated an optimistic Valdez.  “This start for him was just to shake off the rust that comes with the two-week break between the end of the college season and the start of summer ball.  Once he gets a couple more outings under his belt, we’re going to see the dominant pitcher I know he can be.”  

After Ostrowski, the Panthers threw right-handers Ethan Klay (Lincoln Land CC/Springfield, Ill.), Michael Jahnke (Coe College/Lansing, Ill.) and Pat Mayo (Spring Hill College/Oak Lawn, Ill.). Klay and Jahnke both entered the game inheriting bases loaded situations, but neither of them allowed an earned run.   

“I’m very pleased with the outings from those three guys, they did a great job of keeping us in the game.  For them, it’s the same deal as Kyle, the first few outings are for them to get back into form and get used to playing every day again,” Valdez said.  “Even so, I saw a lot of good things from them.  They all had really good velocity and for the most part they were hitting their spots.  The control will come when they start throwing more often, and I’m confident that’ll happen soon.”  

On the offensive side of the baseball, the lack of clutch hitting stalled the Panther hitters throughout the game.  The Panthers advanced runners into scoring position in five different innings but were only able to capitalize in the second inning, where two runners scored on a John Plattner (Lincoln Land CC/Chatham, Ill.) groundout and a Blake Soria (Mesa CC/Chicago, Ill.) single. 

“The approach at the plate was there today,” said Valdez.  “These guys will improve their timing as the season moves forward and they get back to seeing live pitching on a consistent basis, that’s really going to get them back into the rhythm of hitting.  I plan on relying on these hitters throughout the year.  They have a lot of hitting talent, like I said, it just takes time to get back into a consistent groove.”  

Cole Blatchford (Air Force Academy/Highlands Ranch, Colo.) would double the Panthers run total after hitting a two-run home run to left field off Oilmen relief pitcher Pedro Rodriguez in the ninth inning.  

For Blatchford, a cadet with the Air Force Academy who will serve his country upon graduation, said hitting a long home run on Memorial Day was very special according to Valdez.  

“It just seemed fitting,” said Valdez.  “To watch him hit a ball out on a day that means a lot to this country and to the members of the armed forces, it was incredible to see.”

Crestwood returns to action Tuesday at 5 p.m. as the Panthers travel to Chicago Heights, Ill. to take on the defending MCL champion Southland Vikings at Hap Bruno Field.