06/08/2019 9:00 AM
Southland Vikings (1-3)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (3-3)
June 8, 2019 • 6:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind. • Oil City Stadium
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen carried a three-game winning streak into Thursday’s home opener, but two days later they find themselves looking to bounce back from consecutive losses and nail down their first home win of the year on Saturday night. After 10-3 and 10-4 defeats to DuPage County and Crestwood the last two evenings, the Oilmen will welcome in the Southland Vikings for a Saturday showdown. Fans attending the game will receive a free Oilmen t-shirt upon entry.
- The Oilmen will look to avoid starting 0-3 at home for the first time in team history. Although the team would love to better than 3-3 through six games, they were 1-5 at this point in both 2018 and 2016 and went on to win the MCL Championship in each of those seasons.
- The Oilmen topped the Vikings in the first meeting of the year between the two teams last Saturday, June 1. The game was called in the top of the sixth due to strong storms, allowing the Oilmen to secure an 8-6 victory. That permitted NWI to improve to 37-32 all-time against Southland. The two teams split last year’s regular-season series 4-4.
- The Oilmen and Vikings will meet at Oil City Stadium for the first time since a dramatic 7-5 win for the Oilmen in Game 2 of the 2018 MCL Semifinal Series. Tyler Kenjic hit a three-run blast in the bottom of the eighth inning, turning a 4-3 deficit into a 7-4 lead for the Oilmen in the eventual win to clinch a spot in the MCL Championship Series.
- Pitcher Justin Ruthrauff will not only make his Oilmen debut as he starts Saturday’s game, but he’ll do so against his former team. The South Suburban College lefty posted a 1-2 record while appearing in six games and making four starts for Dave Letourneau’s squad a year ago. He logged 27 1/3 innings and accumulated a 3.29 ERA. He was named the MCL Pitcher of the Week on June 25 after allowing only three hits and striking out five in eight innings of a game that saw Southland top Bloomington 3-1. The Vikings will counter with right-hander Jaime Prieto on Saturday.
- Oilmen catcher/DH Ben Berenda drew two more walks on Friday night, lifting his season total to 11. He owns the MCL lead in that area and has 11 of the team’s 30 bases on balls this year. His on-base percentage of .636 leads the team and ranks third in the MCL among those who qualify.
- The Oilmen enter Saturday's game with a 212-128 (.624) record since the team was founded in 2012.
- The Oilmen enter 2019 seeking their eighth straight playoff appearance and eighth consecutive winning season. This is the eighth year of the franchise’s existence.
- The Oilmen are looking to make it back-to-back league championships after going 4-0 in the 2018 MCL Playoffs with series sweeps of Southland and DuPage County.
- The Oilmen recovered from a 4-8 start with three of those first four wins coming against the Crestwood Panthers to win the 2018 MCL Championship.
- The Oilmen have reached the MCL Championship Series four times – 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2018, winning on three of those occasions – 2012, 2016 and 2018.
- The team won the league championship under manager Justin Huisman in its inaugural season in 2012, sweeping through the MCL Playoffs with series wins over DuPage County (semifinals) and the DeKalb County Liners (championship).
- The 2016 title involved sweeping the Joliet Admirals in the MCL Semifinal Series before winning a three-game set against DuPage County in the league championship.
- Alumni who have gone on to play professionally (Oilmen year/s, pro organization): Craig Dedelow (2014, White Sox), Matt Pobereyko (2013-2014, Mets), Zack Jones (2014-2017, Diamondbacks), Donivan Williams (2017, Cardinals), Marshawn Taylor (2016, Diamondbacks), Alec Olund (2015 & 2017, Frontier League), James Meeker (2014, Frontier League), Enrique Zamora (2015, Frontier League), Andrew Lowe (2014, Frontier League), Bill Miller (2012, Frontier League & Can-Am League), Kevin Franchetti (2012, Frontier League), Andy Wellwerts (2012, Frontier League), Danny Britt (2012, Frontier League).
- 2019 Award Winners: Jake Perreira MCL Championship Series MVP; Nate Montgomery MCL MVP; MCL All-League Team – Nate Montgomery, Zaid Walker, Nick Figus, Christian Howell; MCL All-Stars – Nick Figus, Brandon Petkoff, Nate Montgomery, Brendan Kelly, Alex Voss, Pedro Rodriguez, Zaid Walker, Jake Plastiak, Chad Patrick, Christian Howell.
- Kevin Tyrrell is in his first season as Oilmen manager. He succeeds Adam Enright, who was at the helm for four seasons from 2015-2018. Tyrrell, the third manager in Oilmen history, spent seven seasons as the head coach at the College of DuPage before joining the University of Chicago staff in 2019.
- Tyrrell managed the Midwest Collegiate League’s Rockford Foresters for one season in 2013 as the team played its entire schedule on the road.
- In each of Tyrrell’s last four seasons as the head coach at College of DuPage, the Chaparrals received votes in the NJCAA Division III Top 10, reaching as high as fourth nationally during the team’s 40-win season in 2016. He won 188 games as the head coach at the College of DuPage while instructing seven NJCAA All-Americans. His teams hit .300 or better in all seven seasons including a .348 team average in 2013. During his stint in DuPage, Tyrrell led a turnaround for a team that had won seven total games in 2011.
- Before taking over at DuPage, Tyrrell managed the Upper Deck Cougars travel baseball team, which reached the 2008 15U national championship game in Puerto Rico. A year later, the team won the 16U national title. His squad produced seven players who went on to get drafted and four who went on to play in the big leagues.
- Tyrrell played high school baseball at Montini Catholic in Illinois before serving as a three-year captain and four-year letter winner at Lewis University from 2003-2007. He graduated in 2007 with a double major in business administration and management information systems.
- Tyrrell’s staff includes pitching coach Kyle Klosak, a 2013 MCL All-Star with the Rockford Foresters and the pitching coach at the College of DuPage. Klosak played for Tyrrell during the 2013 MCL season. He pitched collegiately at Oakton Community College and Lewis University, where he graduated with a degree in sport management in 2015. He is currently the pitching coach at the College of DuPage.
- Director of Player Personnel and Development Scott Trcka doubles as a bench coach on Tyrrell’s staff. He has 27 seasons as a Major League Baseball scout under his belt with the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and San Diego Padres.
- Trcka’s track record of success is highlighted by the signing of Scott Rolen, a seven-time major league All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner. Rolen was selected in the second round of the 1993 draft. Trcka also signed the following Major League players as an area supervisor: Steve Parris (1989, fifth), Gary Bennett (1990, 11th), Mike Grace (1991, 10th), Tony Fiore (1992, 28th), David Doster (1993, 27th), Kevin Sefcik (1993, 33rd), Jason Boyd (1994, eighth) and Kevin Plawecki (2012, first, 35th overall selection).
- Trcka’s impressive resume also includes recommending the following major league players as a crosschecker: Pat Burrell, Jason Michaels, Jorge Padilla, Brett Myers, Marlon Byrd, Gavin Floyd, Khalil Greene, Tim Stauffer, Colt Morton, Dirk Hayhurst and Aaron Nola.
- During Trcka’s youth, his late father Dick inspired him to pursue a career in baseball. Dick was a legendary coach at Calumet High School in Hammond. He assembled over 200 victories and enjoyed seven winning seasons including the school’s first sectional title in 1982 before passing away in 1986.