07/10/2014 11:08 AM -
When Craig Dedelow steps on the Oil City Stadium diamond for Wednesday’s Midwest Collegiate League All-Star Game, he will be flooded by memories of his childhood.
Dedelow, a Munster High School graduate and current member of the Indiana University baseball team, will be participating in an All-Star Game for the first time since he was 12 years old playing Babe Ruth baseball.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Dedelow said. “I haven’t been on an All-Star team in quite some time, so it should be fun to get to know some of the other guys on the teams and have another game.”
Since joining the Oilmen after completing his freshman season with the Hoosiers, Dedelow has made an instant impact. He leads the team in batting average at .346 and ranks third in RBIs with 10. Dedelow holds a team-best .519 slugging percentage, a .407 on-base percentage and is tied for the club lead in extra-base hits with eight.
“I’ve just been trying to swing at good pitches and not get behind in the counts as much as I did in college or even some during high school last year,” Dedelow said. “I’m trying to get myself into good hitter’s counts and go from there.”
Although Dedelow joined the Oilmen late after Indiana’s season extended into the NCAA Regional, he had no problem fitting in with his Northwest Indiana teammates. Dedelow played high school baseball with pitchers Scott Jerge and Anthony Gomez at Munster.
“It’s been nothing but easy,” Dedelow said. “Guys have welcomed me with open arms and the coaches are good. It’s good competition. The games are almost always close, so that’s a good thing.”
Dedelow has reached base safely in 12 of the 13 games he has played in an Oilmen uniform. His consistent production has made him a fixture in the middle of the Oilmen order, hitting either third or fourth in manager Justin Huisman’s lineup each game.
Although Dedelow received significant playing time as a freshman at Indiana, he did not feel any pressure to carry the team because the Hoosiers were loaded with veteran leadership. With the Oilmen, Dedelow is relied upon to swing a productive stick.
“It’s different, but I like it,” Dedelow said. “I like having more responsibility. I still think I could get my bat a little bit better and get a little bit stronger by the end of the season.”