02/18/2014 4:11 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – February 18, 2014 – Cameron Linck entered his freshman year on the outside looking in of the Hill College starting pitching mix. Since that time Linck, who will pitch for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen this summer, has worked his way into contention for a starting role during the team’s conference schedule.
“When he came in as a freshman I kind of thought he’d be a middle guy or maybe a setup guy, but his work ethic has just been off the charts,” Hill College coach Chris Rateike said. “I’m kind of pulling for him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s one of our conference starters.”
Linck started the year weighing 150 pounds, throwing 84 miles per hour and ranking 18th on the team’s rotation depth chart. He has since bulked up to 175 pounds, increased his velocity to 89 mph and leapfrogged to the No. 3 spot in the Rebels’ rotation.
Hill College, a junior college located in Lamar Hillsboro, Texas, features a pitcher that is headed to Texas Tech next season, while another member of the pitching staff is destined for Texas State.
“I realized that I want to be like one of those guys that next year goes to one of those big schools and that definitely drove me to work harder,” Linck said. “It’s something that I’m still working on. I’m still trying to find out exactly what it takes to be a starter at the college level.”
As a senior at Kingwood High School in Texas, Linck limited opponents to a .179 batting average, earning a spot on the Texas 19-4A All-District Team.
Linck becomes the second Hill College player to compete in the Midwest Collegiate League after teammate Brandon White pitched for the Southland Vikings last season. White was the winning pitcher in Game 1 of the Midwest Collegiate League Championship at Oil City Stadium, scattering eight hits over eight innings of one-run baseball in a 7-2 victory over the Oilmen.
“Brandon White came back night and day different from the year before,” Rateike said. “I expect the same from Cameron. I think it’s going to be awesome for him.”
Linck was drawn to the Oilmen in part because he has family in the area. He was also attracted to the team because of the Division-I talent that permeates the MCL.
“I looked into it a little bit and noticed that the competition level is something that I see myself eventually playing against,” Linck said. “Hopefully that competition will lead into something a little bit more advanced, maybe being drafted.”
Hill College pitchers Zach Reininger and Chase Edwards were both selected by the Detroit Tigers in last year’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Rateike compared Linck to those pitchers.
“He’s a real competitor,” Rateike said. “He’s going to work extremely hard. He’s very competitive and cares about the game.”