02/19/2014 5:11 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – February 19, 2014 – Michigan City High School graduate and Northern Illinois University freshman Andrew Ray was not sure where he was going to play following the spring season. Now that his high school travel team was no longer an option, Ray was in search of a place to see live pitching while school is out of session.
Ray’s dilemma was solved after a conversation with his NIU roommate Jason Gasser. He found a summer home in the form of Oil City Stadium, where he will play for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen.
For Ray, this summer will be a chance to join forces with players that he competed against during his high school days at Michigan City.
“Jason was talking to me and I knew a couple kids that were already on the team as well, so it just seemed like the right decision,” he said.
Ray listed former Lake Central foes Ryan Burvan and Jimmy McNamara as two players with whom he looks forward to sharing the diamond. In addition, he will be reunited with former Hammond Chiefs teammate Danny Pobereyko.
The Oilmen will now have three Huskies on their roster as incoming NIU freshman pitcher Kevin Jones joins Ray and Gasser.
Ray was recruited by the University of Cincinnati, but when he made his college visit to Northern Illinois it felt like the proper fit. Ray has spent most of the offseason getting back to full strength following an arm injury that happened at the tail end of his high school career.
“The coaches have been more than helpful in that process, so I think I made the right decision,” Ray said. “After taking eight to nine months off, things are a little rusty still, so I’m just fine tuning my game a little bit.”
Ray received medical clearance over winter break and was able to participate in practice without limitations beginning in January.
In high school, Ray was named to the 2013 All Duneland Athletic Conference baseball team as a utility player. He listed the highlight of his high school career as leading his team to victories over rival LaPorte his junior and senior seasons.
“Up until my junior year, they had probably swept us seven seasons in a row,” Ray said. “My junior and senior year, with me as a captain, we were able to sweep two years in a row. I hit home runs both games against them back-to-back years.”