07/21/2021 12:19 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – July 20, 2021 – When Northwest Indiana Oilmen manager TJ Marik offers voluntary early work prior to games, there’s never any doubt that Jacob Ferry (Morehead State / Aurora, Ill.) will be in attendance.
Representing an Oilmen team whose very name reflects a blue-collar attitude, it seems only fitting that Ferry’s work ethic was rewarded in Tuesday’s 11-7 victory for the East over the West in the annual Midwest Collegiate League All-Star Game at Oil City Stadium.
Ferry launched a two-run homer, reached base three times and scored three runs en route to All-Star Game Most Valuable Player honors.
“Jake Ferry is an unreal kid,” said Marik, who served as the MCL East manager on Tuesday. “He shows up to optional early work every single day. As you can tell, his performance shows the work that he puts in. He’s been awesome to have on the team, and he’s a very good player. He has consistently put together great at-bats all summer.”
Casey Kmet (Notre Dame / Arlington Heights, Ill.) also had two hits for the East, which rallied from down 5-1 with three in the fourth and four in the fifth to take the lead. Ferry’s two-run bomb in the bottom of the sixth served as insurance in the eventual victory.
Nick Heiden (Webster / Minooka, Ill.) was the winning pitcher by tossing a scoreless fifth that featured a pair of strikeouts, while Jacob Bimbi (Wabash Valley / Crystal Lake, Ill.), Hunter Keim (Saint Leo / Rock Island, Ill.) and Jake Paymaster (Triton College / New Lenox, Ill.) also had scoreless outings for the East.
The West team received a scoreless third inning from Cooper Avery (Valparaiso / Naperville, Ill.) while Nick Vollmert (St. Ambrose / Crystal Lake, Ill.) and Kai Formella (DuPage / Elmhurst, Ill.) combined for a 1-2-3 eighth. Corey Graham (Kirkwood CC / Hazel Crest, Ill.) had two hits and stole three bases to lead the West, while Ryan Nelson (Eastern Kentucky / Aurora, Ill.) ripped the only extra-base hit of the night for the West squad.
“This was a very exciting night and a great event,” MCL West manager Joe Silva said. “It was great to see all the talent that this league has to offer and see guys go out and have fun. Playing under the lights with a good crowd at Oil City Stadium, there were some nerves, but that’s part of the game. It was a great experience for all of these guys to get out there and get the exposure they deserve.”
The bottom of the fourth was a pivotal frame for the East as three straight hits started the eventual three-run inning, including a triple by Hayden Matulich (Purdue Northwest / San Jose, Calif.) and a double by Zamaurion Hatcher (Wabash Valley / Michigan / Chicago, Ill.).
A large crowd and numerous scouts were on hand on a perfect weather night in Whiting. This marked the league’s 10th All-Star Game, which has produced numerous professional players including 2013 MCL All-Star and 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Paul DeJong. The league has produced 92 players who have gone on to play professionally.
“It was a very cool experience to be a part of the All-Star Game,” Marik said. “It was a great atmosphere and a really good time. You just have to let the kids play the game. There is a reason they were selected as All-Stars, so that made my job easy. It was a lot of fun.”
All six MCL teams will be in action on Wednesday to begin the final stretch of the 2021 MCL season.