02/08/2018 8:01 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – Feb. 8, 2018 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen have added Miami (Ohio) sophomore Tom Kelley to the outfield mix for the 2018 season.
Kelley is a 2016 graduate of Providence Catholic High School, where he was part of a Celtics team that won three straight Class 4A IHSA state championships his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. In the process, Providence Catholic became the only team in the history of Illinois high school baseball to win three consecutive state titles.
“Achieving a feat like that was awesome,” Kelley said. “That was a great group of guys. In the state championship game, I made a throw to put a runner out that made the SportsCenter Top 10. I have a lot of great memories from that season.”
Kelley made 15 appearances in the RedHawks’ outfield and earned six starts as a freshman in 2017.
“The biggest tool Tom has is that he’s got a really good throwing arm from the outfield,” Miami (Ohio) coach Danny Hayden said. “He’s a good defensive outfielder too. He’s growing as a hitter and he can drive the ball into the opposite field gap. He’s super high energy and is a hard worker.”
Though his focus right now is contributing to his team during the spring season, Kelley is looking forward to the opportunity to gain game experience over the summer with the Oilmen.
“The best part about summer ball is being able to go out every day and get at-bats,” he said. “That allows you to find flaws in your swing. It shows you what you need to work on when you’re playing day in and day out. I’m a competitive guy, so I approach it as I would any other game situation. That approach is to win the game. If I go 0-for-4 and we win, that’s a good day. That’s the kind of player and teammate I am.”
Hayden confirms that Kelley is a high-character addition to the Oilmen roster.
“Tom is an awesome kid,” he said. “He’s a guy we ask to speak in front of the athletic department when they request baseball players. He’s a really likable, high-energy competitor who plays with a big-time motor. He’s fun to watch play baseball and he’s eager to get better. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about him from a character standpoint.”
Kelley lettered four times in baseball and twice in basketball during his days at Providence Catholic, where he was named to the 2016 Chicago Catholic League All-Star Team. He spent his summers playing for the Illinois Sparks during his prep days. In the classroom, Kelley is majoring in business economics. He loves rap music and plays basketball in his free time.
On the diamond, Kelley plays the corner outfield spots.
“I think my biggest strength is that I’m a great defender in the outfield,” he said. “I have a strong arm and I don’t make errors out there. As a hitter, one of my biggest strengths is battling. I always go up there and give a good AB, whether it results in a hit, productive out or long plate appearance. I’m always trying to make my at-bat count.”
Kelley is enthusiastic about the chance to stay close to his hometown of Orland Park, Ill. as he suits up for the Oilmen this summer.
“I’m extremely excited to play for the Oilmen and Coach Enright,” Kelley said. “I think it’s going to be a really good time and I hope to come out on top in the league. I’m pumped because I get to stay close to home and I think this will be a really good experience.”