05/28/2018 10:26 AM
Northwest Indiana Oilmen (0-0)
at Crestwood Panthers (0-0)
May 28, 2018 • 7 p.m. • Crestwood, Ill.
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
NWI’s Christian Howell (RHP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Crestwood’s Kyle Ostrowski (LHP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA)
The seventh season of Northwest Indiana Oilmen baseball will begin on Memorial Day, as the team cranks up the 2018 campaign at Howie Minas Field in Crestwood, Ill. against the Panthers. The Oilmen will begin their quest for their seventh consecutive playoff berth and their third MCL title, having previously won the league crown in 2012 and 2016. Adam Enright is back to begin his fourth season as Oilmen manager after three years as an assistant coach. He also serves as an assistant coach at Trinity Christian College, where he played a key role in instructing a Trolls offense that led the CCAC in batting average at .346. The team won the CCAC Tournament and made the NAIA National Tournament.
Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen have nine returning players with previous Oilmen experience and 12 who have played in the MCL prior to this season. They have continued their tradition of showcasing local talent, as 18 players hail from Illinois and 10 from Indiana. The states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida are also represented. Northwest Indiana high school products include Nick Wolf (Wheeler), Chad Patrick (Hebron), Hunter Thorn (Portage), Bobby Nowak (Hanover Central), Jordan Petty (Highland), Sawyer Allen (Andrean) and Tyler Kenjic (Hobart). The Oilmen will attempt to better their all-time opening day mark that stands at 2-4 through their first six seasons. They dropped the season openers in 2012 and 2013, beat the Snipes 2-1 in 2014 and the Joliet Admirals 5-2 to begin the 2015 campaign. The Oilmen were on the wrong end of a 1-0 thriller to start 2017 at Bloomington, which was reminiscent of a 3-0 loss to the Bobcats on opening day a year prior. This marks the sixth time in seven years the Oilmen have begun the season away from Northwest Indiana, as the first week is typically spent on the road while beautiful Oil City Stadium in Whiting hosts high school sectionals. Christian Howell will begin his fourth season with the Oilmen on Monday night. He is already the team’s all-time leader in career wins (10) and innings pitched (135).
Inside the Panthers
The 2018 season will mark the second year of the Crestwood Panthers in the MCL. Last year, they finished sixth in the league at 11-39. The Panthers are led by new manager Isaac Valdez, who currently serves as a hitting coach and recruiting coordinator for Harper College. Valdez has an impressive resume that features time in the White Sox organization as the Director of Membership Sales for BullsSox Training Academy (2005-2009) and the Director of Player Development for White Sox Amateur Sports (2006-2009), working with the ACE program and as an associate scout. He has owned and operated Around the Horn Baseball/Fastpitch Training Academy since 2010. Crestwood is in its second year in the MCL and will call Howie Minas Field home for the first time. Howie Minas Field opened in 1955 and was home to the Midlothian White Sox, a National Baseball Congress powerhouse. The Cook County Cheetahs of the independent Heartland League played at Howie Minas Field in 1998 before moving to Crestwood, joining the Frontier League and becoming the Windy City Thunderbolts. Monday’s starting pitcher Kyle Ostrowski was a redshirt sophomore at John A. Logan College this past year. The Tinley Park, Ill. native and Lincoln-Way North High School graduate was selected in the 34th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Seattle Mariners in 2015 following his senior year of high school.
About the Matchup
This is the first meeting of the 2018 season between the Oilmen and the Panthers, in what has been a historically one-sided matchup. The last time these two teams met, Northwest Indiana downed Crestwood 12-0 on July 26, 2017. Holding a 9-2 all-time record against the Panthers, the Oilmen have won six of those nine games by six or more runs. The 2017 season marked the first time the Oilmen and Panthers matched up.
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