02/13/2017 10:26 AM -
WHITING, Ind. - Blake Cleveland, a sophomore catcher for Central Michigan, will return to play for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen in 2017.
Cleveland was a member of the 2016 Oilmen which won the MCL title.
Cleveland said his experience with the Oilmen last season helped his offensive production.
“I would definitely say my hitting [has improved]. That was kind of my big focus in the summer, working on my hitting, and I feel like that time put in there has actually given me a chance to improve and then carry it over to my college team.”
In the spring, Cleveland will play his sophomore season with the Central Michigan Chippewas before returning to Northwest Indiana. He played 18 games and made eight starts in his freshman campaign behind the plate. He said his goal for the season is to win the MAC, and added that a .300 batting average is a number he’s shooting for.
Cleveland is a native of Nappanee, Ind., which is just under two hours away from Oil City Stadium. He played at Northwood High School before joining Central Michigan. Cleveland said playing close to home is important to him, but it was the team that got him to come back to the MCL this summer.
“I had a great experience with all the guys. I still talk to them now. They’re good friends… The atmosphere with the Oilmen is awesome. It’s just so much fun and I wanted to come back.”
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen are coming off a 30-24 in 2016 which ended in the team’s second MCL championship (2012). The Oilmen beat the DuPage County Hounds in the MCL final in three games.