10/21/2013 11:09 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – October 21, 2013 – The tradition of Munster High School graduates pitching for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen will continue in 2014 as Ball State left-hander Anthony Gomez has signed with the team.
Munster has produced more Oilmen than any other school, as Gomez is set to become the fourth Mustang to pitch for the team. Munster graduates Ryan Wilkinson, Scott Jerge and Jim Hinkleman have all taken the mound for NWI over the team’s first two seasons.
Two months ago, Gomez thought his baseball career might be over. After spending the spring season at Vincennes sidelined with a back injury, he transferred to Ball State to begin studying actuarial science, which was not offered at Vincennes.
“Being on the sideline and not being able to play kind of took my heart out of the game for a little bit,” Gomez said. “That’s another small factor that swayed me to go to Ball State. Over the summer, I decided to give baseball one last try.”
Gomez attended Ball State’s walk-on tryout, where he caught the attention of Cardinals head coach Rich Maloney.
“I had no idea who was going to show up on that particular day, and I see this left-hander out in the outfield playing catch,” Maloney said. “We’re getting ready to watch the guys who train in the outfield, he’s long-tossing and I tell my pitching coach to take a look at that young man’s arm. He went out and pitched for us in the tryout and we could see there was some potential.”
Gomez is hopeful that playing for the Oilmen next summer will give him a chance to develop with consistent playing time. He has attended several games at Oil City Stadium as a fan to watch Hinkleman, his relative. Gomez enjoyed the atmosphere, so he asked Hinkleman to connect him to Oilmen manager Justin Huisman.
“The hope is that he’s going to get a lot of opportunity to continue to grow and work on his stuff,” Maloney said. “That’s why it is a good opportunity. That’s what we’re banking on, that he’s going to be able to get some innings to further develop. I think by the time he gets there over the summer, he’ll be further along and hopefully the summer league will be able to take him a little bit further and keep growing him.”