The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Oilmen to Face Sparks for First Time Ever

06/09/2014 9:56 PM -

Illinois Sparks at
Northwest Indiana Oilmen (4-4)

June 10, 2014 • 7:10 p.m. (CT) • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: None

For Starters
The Oilmen edged the Michigan City Lakers 5-4 in what evolved into a slugfest on Saturday afternoon in Michigan City.  Each team had two players smash home runs as Andrew Ray and James Meeker went yard for NWI while Greg Tolliver and Mike Schroeder did so for Michigan City. The four total home runs was the most in an Oilmen game since July 1, 2013 against the U.S. Military All-Stars, when there were five total long balls.  The last time multiple Oilmen players hit home runs in the same game was July 16, 2012, when Chris Rudenga homered once and Bill Miller went deep twice in an 11-5 loss to Southland.

Inside the Oilmen
Oilmen manager Justin Huisman has done his fair share of mixing and matching early in the season. The Oilmen have not used identical lineups in any two games this year. The leadoff spot has been a revolving door involving Ryan Burvan, Kevin DeFilippis and Rob Blissitt. Burvan may have earned a longer look in the top spot in the batting order by enjoying a three-hit day on Saturday. No player on the Oilmen has started every game this season. The Oilmen defensive alignment has also been in a constant state of change so far this year. Burvan has started at four different positions (shortstop, second base, third base and left field) through the first eight games of the year.

Inside the Sparks
The Illinois Sparks are coached by Kevin Sefcik, an assistant at Brother Rice who is also a former Major League Baseball player. Sefcik appeared in 425 career games, mostly with the Philadelphia Phillies before finishing his career with the Colorado Rockies. He was selected by the Phillies in the 33rd round of the 1993 MLB draft. This will be the first time the Oilmen have been in a game with both teams guided by former major league players.

About the Matchup
The Sparks are the second nonleague opponent that the Oilmen will face this season, joining the Michigan City Lakers. Tuesday’s game will count for both teams’ overall records, but will not be included in the Midwest Collegiate League standings. This is the first-ever meeting between the Oilmen and Sparks. Two Oilmen players, Kevin DeFilippis and Alec Ornelas, are former members of the Illinois Sparks.

Around the Midwest Collegiate League
The DuPage County Hounds suffered their first defeat of the season on Sunday night. They fell 8-5 to Southland to snap a seven-game winning streak to start the year. Sunday’s scheduled double header between the Lexington Snipes and Chicago Zephyrs was postponed by rain. The Snipes are also taking on a nonleague foe on Tuesday as they battle the Central Illinois Legends. The only league game on the night pits the Southland Vikings against the Chicago Zephyrs.

Click "download attachment" to view a full PDF of Oilmen Game Notes.