12/17/2015 12:26 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – December 17, 2015 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen of the Midwest Collegiate League have continued to assemble their 2016 roster with the addition of Division-I Northern Kentucky’s Brad Bohlen.
The junior third baseman brings with him a family history in the sport of baseball. His brother Jeff played at Division-I Charlotte North Carolina before transferring to NKU, then a D-II program.
The baseball roots all start with Bohlen’s father, also Jeff, who is a former Texas Rangers’ scout.
Bohlen has witnessed a transitional period for the Norse, who are in their fourth year of Division-I competition. They have participated in the Atlantic Sun Conference for each of Bohlen’s first two seasons, but 2016 will mark Northern Kentucky’s first year in the Horizon League.
“I think it’s really good for us,” Bohlen said. “I know we can compete in that conference. It’s nice for me because it’s close to home. Playing at UIC and Valparaiso and having my family come see me on weekends is going to be awesome.”
Home is Chicago Heights, Illinois, where Bohlen graduated from Marian Catholic High School in 2013. Bohlen, who holds the school’s single-season RBI record, helped the Spartans to the first state title in program history his junior year.
“As a team, we were doubted,” Bohlen said. “We were 17-17 right before the playoffs and ended up winning eight straight to capture the title. That’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
In his first year at Northern Kentucky, Bohlen batted just .167 in 28 games. However, his sophomore campaign came with significant improvement.
Bohlen boosted his average to .284 in 28 appearances, and finished the season by hitting .318 in conference play.
“He just got bigger, faster and stronger and really progressed through the program,” Northern Kentucky coach Todd Asalon said. “I threw him right into the lineup as a freshman, and he fought for playing time. The thing about Brad is that he’s a blue-collar guy. He just shoes up and works hard. He’s getting better the plate.”
It’s at the hot corner, however, where Bohlen really thrives.
“Defensively, he’s one of the best I’ve ever had,” Asalon said. “He’s got a power arm at third base. He’s hard to get out of the lineup. He doesn’t back down from anything.”
During the summer months, Bohlen will work on his two-strike approach and driving the ball to the opposite field. He’ll have three years of college baseball under his belt before the summer season begins, making him one of the veteran members of the 2016 Oilmen.
“I’m very excited about the upcoming summer,” he said. “I’ve heard great things about the Oilmen and the success they’ve had the last couple of years. I know from a couple of friends that played in the league that it’s a competitive league. I told my coaches that I wanted to play closer to home this summer, and the Oilmen were the first team I wanted to play for. I’m ready to get going.”
Photo by Kent Kahle/NKU Athletic Communications