Date of Birth: 04/26/1996
Height: 6' 0" Weight: 185 lbs
College Experience: Trinity Christian (Windy City ThunderBolts)
Hometown: South Holland, Ill.
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen organization has influenced each player who has played for the club since its inception in 2012. But one individual whose entire collegiate baseball journey was shaped by his time with the team is Chris Baker.
As Baker gets set to return for his third summer with the Oilmen, the impact the team has made on him is not lost on the Trinity Christian College junior. He joined Trinity Christian this season after stops at UIC and South Suburban, reuniting with numerous former Oilmen on the Trolls.
“Oilmen baseball has brought me a lot of great things over the past two summers,” he said. “It’s brought me some memories I’ll never forget. I have had a great time getting to know the people the Oilmen have put me in contact with like Tyler (Sroczynki), Richard (Yelnick), Rory (Gard) and Alex (Nisle). To be able to go to school with them after playing with them with the Oilmen was the experience I was looking for in baseball. When I left UIC, I told myself I wanted to be a really good baseball player, but also surround myself with guys who loved me as a baseball player and as a person. I can honestly say those four guys have left a mark on my heart.”
The South Holland, Ill. native and Marian Catholic High School product batted .355, launched seven home runs and racked up 44 RBIs in 51 games at Trinity Christian. He was part of a Trolls team that won the CCAC Tournament and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament, making the program’s second appearance and first since 2013. He was recognized as a member of the All-Conference Second Team and received NCCAA All-Region honors.
“This year we had a few days where we were skidding, but we pulled back together and collected as a group to push any negativity away,” Baker said. “It was great to play with guys who you knew were going to give passion and love of the game day in and day out.”
In his first year with the Oilmen, Baker posted a .324 batting average in 31 games while drawing 31 walks and driving in 23 runs. His eye at the plate remained a strength in his season second, when he racked up 35 bases on balls. One of Baker’s most memorable moments with the Oilmen came on the first pitch he saw at Oil City Stadium in 2016 as he crushed a grand slam to right field to help the Oilmen to a 9-5 victory over the Lakers.
Baker has developed a strong relationship with Oilmen manager Adam Enright, who is also an assistant coach at Trinity Christian under former Oilmen manager Justin Huisman.
“If you need to do something, he’s there to help, but he’s not going to force it down your throat,” Baker said of Enright. “He understands the players and he tries to give them the best way to go out and have success on the field day in and day out. He could see that with the great offense that we had this year at Trinity. He definitely gives the instruction that players need in their careers.”