12/20/2014 8:48 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – Dec. 21, 2014 – For Anthony Gomez, the experience of spending the 2014 season with the Northwest Indiana Oilmen was a memorable one.
So memorable, in fact, that the Ball State left-handed pitcher has decided to return for 2015.
“One reason I enjoyed it was the friendships that I made,” Gomez said. “I made some good friends hanging out in the bullpen. Another reason is being able to stay home and play in front of my friends and family.”
The 2014 summer marked Gomez’s return to the mound after missing the 2014 spring as a redshirt walk-on at Ball State and the 2013 season with a back injury while playing at Vincennes. He went 1-1 with one save while posting a 5.10 earned run average and recording 19 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings.
Gomez graduated from Munster High School, joining former Mustang Joe Jumonville on the 2015 roster. Although their high school careers did not overlap, Jumonville and Gomez know each other well from working out together. A total of six Munster alumni have played for the Oilmen, more than any other school.
“Being from around town, I feel that (Munster coach Bob Shinkan) always puts in a good word for us around here,” Gomez said. “A lot of Munster guys have played in the Oilmen organization and have liked it, and I’m sure that’s passed on to younger generations. That’s why guys keep coming back.”
The Oilmen have a new manager for the 2015 season in Adam Enright, a Munster product himself. Enright was promoted to the managerial position after assisting Justin Huisman the last three seasons.
“I expect it to be the same as it was this past summer with Huisman,” Gomez said. “They’re both winning coaches, they both have the same mentality with the way they approach the game, so I expect more of the same.”
Gomez suffered a setback this fall as the back injury that occurred while he was a freshman at Vincennes resurfaced. However, after a few weeks of rest and some time to rehab, he has returned to 100 percent.
Gomez is hopeful that he will compete for a weekend bullpen spot at Ball State this season. He played a prominent relief role for the Oilmen in 2014, serving as a left-handed setup man for closer Matt Pobereyko.
With the 2015 roster not yet complete, Gomez’s role for next summer is very much up in the air. He’s open to all possibilities, whether it’s remaining in the bullpen or moving into the rotation.
One change Oilmen fans may notice is an increase in velocity on Gomez’s fastball.
“I’m working on a new throwing motion, which is going to help,” he said. “I’ve always had a longer throwing motion, but this year I’m trying to shorten it up to get my arm moving quicker and possibly throw harder. This coming summer, solidifying that new throwing motion would help out a lot, and we’d see a velocity increase because of that.”