07/06/2019 10:46 AM
Southland Vikings (15-5)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (10-11)
July 6, 2019 • 6:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind. • Oil City Stadium
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
Mother Nature has been the big story this season for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen. A year filled with weather-related battles will hope to finally season favorable conditions for baseball on Saturday night as Southland provides the opposition for Red, White and Blue Night at Oil City Stadium.
- The Oilmen had seven players selected for the 2019 MCL All-Star Game as the rosters were announced on Friday. The game will take place on Saturday, July 13 at 7:10 p.m. at Oil City Stadium. Clay Thompson, Malik Peters, Ben Berenda, Joe Rycerz, Justin Conant, Mike Madura and Nate DeLoian have all earned All-Star status.
- LHP Connor Oliver will make his first start in an Oilmen uniform on Saturday night. He made his debut on June 29 vs. Southland, his only appearance to date. Oliver logged a shutout inning and struck out a pair while retiring the side in order. The Oak Forest, Ill. native and 2019 Oak Forest High School graduate will pitch for Wichita State this coming season.
- The Vikings will send out right-hander Logan Strutz, who has pitched 18 innings and allowed six walks while striking out 11. He owns a perfect 3-0 record and a 5.50 ERA over three games and two starts. Southland has won six straight games and is 12-2 after an 0-3 start. The Vikings pitching staff has permitted one run or fewer in each of the last four games.
- This season, the Oilmen have had 10 games take place as scheduled and go the full length without weather issues, two played through rain but go the full length, seven shortened (three due to rain, two fog, and two miscellaneous), three games started but rained out before the fifth inning including two that were scheduled to be Game 1 of a doubleheader and two other games wiped out before they ever began (plus the two that were Game 2 of those scheduled doubleheaders).
- Justin Conant saw his 19-game on-base streak come to an end in Monday’s 5-1 loss to Southland. It marked the first time all season he did not reach base in a game. Conant still ranks second on the team with a .315 batting average and third with a .440 on-base percentage.
- The Oilmen have hung around the .500 line for most of the year. The team hasn’t been better than two games over but hasn’t been worse than two games under. The last time they were more than one game away from the .500 mark was when they fell to 3-5 on June 11 and the last time they were more than a game over was at 3-1 after picking up a third straight win on June 4. The last time the Oilmen were under .500 through 21 games was 2016, when they were 10-11 but went on to win the MCL title.
- The Oilmen enter Saturday’s game with a 218-135 (.618) record since the team was founded in 2012.
- The Oilmen enter 2019 seeking their eighth straight playoff appearance and eighth consecutive winning season. This is the eighth year of the franchise’s existence.
- The Oilmen are looking to make it back-to-back league championships after going 4-0 in the 2018 MCL Playoffs with series sweeps of Southland and DuPage County.
- The Oilmen recovered from a 4-8 start with three of those first four wins coming against the Crestwood Panthers to win the 2018 MCL Championship.
- The Oilmen have reached the MCL Championship Series four times – 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2018, winning on three of those occasions – 2012, 2016 and 2018.
- The team won the league championship under manager Justin Huisman in its inaugural season in 2012, sweeping through the MCL Playoffs with series wins over DuPage County (semifinals) and the DeKalb County Liners (championship).
- The 2016 title involved sweeping the Joliet Admirals in the MCL Semifinal Series before winning a three-game set against DuPage County in the league championship.
- Alumni who have gone on to play professionally (Oilmen year/s, pro organization): Craig Dedelow (2014, White Sox), Matt Pobereyko (2013-2014, Mets), Zack Jones (2014-2017, Diamondbacks), Donivan Williams (2017, Cardinals), Marshawn Taylor (2016, Diamondbacks), Alec Olund (2015 & 2017, Frontier League), James Meeker (2014, Frontier League), Enrique Zamora (2015, Frontier League), Andrew Lowe (2014, Frontier League), Bill Miller (2012, Frontier League & Can-Am League), Kevin Franchetti (2012, Frontier League), Andy Wellwerts (2012, Frontier League), Danny Britt (2012, Frontier League).
- 2019 Award Winners: Jake Perreira MCL Championship Series MVP; Nate Montgomery MCL MVP; MCL All-League Team – Nate Montgomery, Zaid Walker, Nick Figus, Christian Howell; MCL All-Stars – Nick Figus, Brandon Petkoff, Nate Montgomery, Brendan Kelly, Alex Voss, Pedro Rodriguez, Zaid Walker, Jake Plastiak, Chad Patrick, Christian Howell.
- Kevin Tyrrell is in his first season as Oilmen manager. He succeeds Adam Enright, who was at the helm for four seasons from 2015-2018. Tyrrell, the third manager in Oilmen history, spent seven seasons as the head coach at the College of DuPage before joining the University of Chicago staff in 2019.
- Tyrrell managed the Midwest Collegiate League’s Rockford Foresters for one season in 2013 as the team played its entire schedule on the road.
- In each of Tyrrell’s last four seasons as the head coach at College of DuPage, the Chaparrals received votes in the NJCAA Division III Top 10, reaching as high as fourth nationally during the team’s 40-win season in 2016. He won 188 games as the head coach at the College of DuPage while instructing seven NJCAA All-Americans. His teams hit .300 or better in all seven seasons including a .348 team average in 2013. During his stint in DuPage, Tyrrell led a turnaround for a team that had won seven total games in 2011.
- Before taking over at DuPage, Tyrrell managed the Upper Deck Cougars travel baseball team, which reached the 2008 15U national championship game in Puerto Rico. A year later, the team won the 16U national title. His squad produced seven players who went on to get drafted and four who went on to play in the big leagues.
- Tyrrell played high school baseball at Montini Catholic in Illinois before serving as a three-year captain and four-year letter winner at Lewis University from 2003-2007. He graduated in 2007 with a double major in business administration and management information systems.
- Tyrrell’s staff includes pitching coach Kyle Klosak, a 2013 MCL All-Star with the Rockford Foresters and the pitching coach at the College of DuPage. Klosak played for Tyrrell during the 2013 MCL season. He pitched collegiately at Oakton Community College and Lewis University, where he graduated with a degree in sport management in 2015. He is currently the pitching coach at the College of DuPage.
- Director of Player Personnel and Development Scott Trcka doubles as a bench coach on Tyrrell’s staff. He has 27 seasons as a Major League Baseball scout under his belt with the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and San Diego Padres.
- Trcka’s track record of success is highlighted by the signing of Scott Rolen, a seven-time major league All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner. Rolen was selected in the second round of the 1993 draft. Trcka also signed the following Major League players as an area supervisor: Steve Parris (1989, fifth), Gary Bennett (1990, 11th), Mike Grace (1991, 10th), Tony Fiore (1992, 28th), David Doster (1993, 27th), Kevin Sefcik (1993, 33rd), Jason Boyd (1994, eighth) and Kevin Plawecki (2012, first, 35th overall selection).
- Trcka’s impressive resume also includes recommending the following major league players as a crosschecker: Pat Burrell, Jason Michaels, Jorge Padilla, Brett Myers, Marlon Byrd, Gavin Floyd, Khalil Greene, Tim Stauffer, Colt Morton, Dirk Hayhurst and Aaron Nola.
- During Trcka’s youth, his late father Dick inspired him to pursue a career in baseball. Dick was a legendary coach at Calumet High School in Hammond.