01/19/2018 1:21 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – Jan. 19, 2018 – After a successful first summer in the MCL in 2017, Nick Figus is coming back to the league for the 2018 season. This time, however, he’s trading orange and green for black and gold as he joins the Northwest Indiana Oilmen after a one-year stint with the Bloomington Bobcats.
“Whenever we went to Oil City Stadium, I liked the atmosphere the Oilmen played in,” Figus said. “I like how they’re good every year and it’s closer to home for me. I anticipate that I will enjoy everything about the Oilmen organization.”
Figus, a sophomore at Illinois Wesleyan and graduate of Lincoln Way North, played in 32 games last summer with Bloomington. He batted .288 with 16 RBIs and 30 runs scored, ranking second on the team in that area. He also swiped 12 bases and was caught just once.
“My biggest strength is my speed,” he said. “One thing I want to improve this year is making better contact with two strikes. Going into the summer, I know what to expect and I know the competition level. I’m going to be competing every day and getting myself better. It’ll be a very productive summer, and I look forward to playing.”
Figus attended Creighton University for his first semester of college before transferring to Illinois Wesleyan for the 2017 spring semester.
“His talent has always stood out to me,” Illinois Wesleyan coach Dennis Martel said. “He’s a kid who we started to recruit right out of high school and I thought he was good enough to come in and start for us right away. He decided to chase the dream of playing Division I. When he called me at the end of his first semester and asked if I’d still take him, there was no question."
Figus burst onto the collegiate scene at Illinois Wesleyan, where he was named the Top Newcomer in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin and was selected to the first team of all-CCIW baseball squad in 2017. He was also chosen as the team’s Best Newcomer and Best Defensive Player. He batted .337 with team highs in hits (58) and triples (three) as a freshman.
“He’s very humble for a kid who has had a lot of success,” Martel said. “He transferred in and wanted to be a nursing major. They love him in the college of nursing; he fits right in. He comes from a great family with parents who really support him.”
Figus said his major was the primary reason for transferring from Creighton to Illinois Wesleyan. He likes the idea of entering a career path that will allow him to help people for a living.
For now, Figus will make a difference on the diamond, both this spring at Illinois Wesleyan and this summer at Oil City Stadium.
“The Bobcats’ loss in the Oilmen’s gain,” Martel said. “This works out well for him. We have a lot of players from Wesleyan who play with the Bobcats, but it’s a better fit geographically for Nick to play in Northwest Indiana. I know he’s excited about playing for the Oilmen. They’re getting a good one, that’s for sure.”