07/11/2019 9:10 AM
Northwest Indiana Oilmen (14-11)
at Crestwood Panthers (6-20)
July 11, 2019 • 7 p.m. • Midlothian, Ill. • Howie Minas Field
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live)
The Northwest Indiana Oilmen will look to continue their hottest stretch of the season on Thursday night at Crestwood. For the first time all year, the Oilmen have won four consecutive games and stand at a season-best three games above .500 after sweeping a doubleheader from Bloomington on Tuesday night. The Oilmen continue a stretch of playing eight out of nine games on the road.
- The Panthers have won back-to-back games, the first time they’ve done so since beating Joliet and Southland on June 24 and June 27 of last season. A win on Thursday would give Crestwood its first three-game winning streak since joining the Midwest Collegiate League prior to the 2017 season. Crestwood has already matched its season win total from a year ago, when it went 6-29. After hosting the Oilmen on Thursday, the Panthers will welcome in the Generals on Friday night in the final game before the All-Star Break.
- The Oilmen own a 4-1 edge in the season series and have won three straight over the Panthers. Crestwood led 4-0 in the third last Friday at Oil City Stadium, but the game was washed out by rain. The most recent matchup that was completed was won 16-9 by the Oilmen on June 28, advancing their all-time record to 21-3 in head-to-head meetings with the Panthers. This marks just the second visit to Howie Minas Field for the Oilmen this season and first since a 6-0 victory on May 31 in the second game of the season.
- Johnny Vesevick will start for the Oilmen on Thursday night. The southpaw has logged 21 innings over seven appearances (four starts) and owns a 1-2 record and a 4.71 ERA. He has racked up 29 strikeouts against 11 walks. Entering his start on Thursday, Vesevick’s 29 strikeouts are fifth in the league behind Eddie Wilkins (Crestwood, 44), Austin Andrishok (DuPage County, 32), Brett Taucher (DuPage County, 31) and Ethan Soderna (Crestwood, 31).
- The Oilmen played one of the latest nights of Oilmen baseball in team history on Tuesday at Bloomington as the second game of the doubleheader ended at nearly 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The two teams played two seven-inning games beginning at 7 p.m. and the second game went extra innings. However, it was worth staying up late for the Oilmen, who won 12-0 and 7-4.
- NWI’s Frank Napleton is one of two players in the league with three home runs or more this season. He blasted his third big fly on Sunday against Joliet, while DuPage County’s Nick Zeeveld leads the way with four.
- Malik Peters is up to 21 RBIs, which leads the team and ranks tied for fourth in the league. He also has 17 stolen bases, second in the MCL behind only DuPage County’s Scott Jones with 23.
- This marks the first time all season the Oilmen are three games above .500. Before winning the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Bloomington, the last time they were two over was at 3-1 four games into the season.
- The Oilmen enter Thursday’s game with a 220-135 (.619) 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).
- 2018 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.