05/20/2016 6:54 AM -
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen have bolstered the bullpen with the addition of St. Laurence High School graduate and Oak Lawn, Ill. native Jay Gutierrez.
Gutierrez, a right-handed pitcher, just completed his sophomore season at Olney College (JUCO) and is seeking a new baseball home for the 2017 season. First, he’ll turn his attention to the tall task that is competing in the Midwest Collegiate League.
“It’s a competitive league,” Gutierrez said. “I feel like I can get an opportunity to grow as a player. I want to perfect all of my pitches.”
Gutierrez spent his freshman season at Division-II Kentucky Wesleyan, the alma mater of all-time Midwest Collegiate League saves leader and Oilmen legend Matt Pobereyko.
As a sophomore, Gutierrez pitched in 10 games and made five starts at Olney Central. He went 1-1 with one save and a 6.23 ERA in 30 1/3 innings. He walked nine and struck out 26.
Now, Gutierrez is in the process of solidifying the next step for his baseball career. He’ll attend his third college in three years and his fourth school in four years counting his senior year of high school.
“Right now, I’m getting calls from schools like Southern Illinois University Edwardsville,” he said. “That’s one of the options I’m learning toward.”
While for some summer baseball is simply for working on tweaks or staying in shape, there’s a different motivation for a junior college player with an uncertain future.
“For me, it’s more like I still have something to prove,” Gutierrez said. “That’s been the case through high school and college. I’m used to it right now. It’s doesn’t really effect my performance; I’m used to trying to prove something.”
Gutierrez and former Oilman Brad Wood (Northern Illinois) were prep teammates at St. Laurence. The Vikings won a regional title Gutierrez’s senior year, but came up shy of their goal of winning state.
“I feel like the type of player I am now came from being coached by (Pete) Lotus at St. Laurence,” Gutierrez said. “They teach you how to put in work.”
Gutierrez spoke with Wood about what it’s like to play for the Oilmen.
“I’m expecting to have a competitive, solid team,” he said. “I talked to him a little bit. He said he enjoyed it there. It’s fun being out there with the team, but there’s also a winning attitude.”
Extra Tidbits: Chicago Cubs fan… career goal is to become a lawyer… enjoys mini-golfing in spare time.