09/16/2014 9:17 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – Sept. 16, 2014 – When the Northwest Indiana Oilmen take the field for their fourth season in the Midwest Collegiate League, they will do so for the first time ever without Justin Huisman in the dugout.
The team has announced that Huisman has stepped down as Oilmen manager in order to spend more time with his family. Huisman will focus on his job as the head coach of the Trinity Christian College baseball program.
“It’s pretty busy all year long and to go right from the spring season with Trinity into the summer, there’s not a whole lot of break time there,” Huisman said. “I have a young family and I want to be able to spend a little bit of time with the kids next summer.”
Huisman has been a fixture at Oil City Stadium since the team’s inception in 2012, managing the team to an 88-51 record over three years. The Oilmen reached the Midwest Collegiate League playoffs in all three of Huisman’s seasons at the helm, winning the championship in the organization’s first-ever campaign.
“We’re tremendously thankful for what Justin has been able to accomplish,” Oilmen President Don Popravak said. “I consider Justin a personal friend of mine. He was the team’s inaugural manager and gave the organization lots of credibility. He was intent on improving his players in the summer. We wish Justin and his family all the best. He’ll be missed by the entire organization.”
The Oilmen clinched the Midwest Collegiate League Championship on Aug. 5, 2012 by defeating DeKalb County 6-2 to complete a series sweep and perfect postseason.
“Each year, we had solid pitching,” Huisman said. “That year we did a little bit better job offensively at the right times; we came up with some bigger hits and we executed a little bit better. Each year’s team was fairly close to each other, I just think we came through a little bit better offensively in postseason play.”
Huisman is in his fifth season at Trinity Christian, where he has guided the Trolls to national tournaments each of the last two years, including the program’s first-ever NAIA national tournament in 2013. Last season, the Trolls set a program record for wins in a single season
“When I took over the job, I knew there were going to be some small school challenges,” he said. “Each year, we’ve seen more and more wins. That’s basically all I’m trying to do here is to continue to take the program to places it’s never been and to do better and better each year. As long as guys are doing well on the field and making Trinity proud off the field, I’m happy.”
Popravak and the Oilmen will begin a search for the team’s next manager, with hopes of finding someone who can continue the winning tradition.
“It’s been fun,” Huisman said. “It was a brand new team, and hopefully I’ve given the team what they were looking for in a start to an organization. Hopefully it’s something they build upon and keep going in a positive direction each summer.”