06/03/2020 8:37 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – June 3, 2020 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen have announced eight additions to the roster for the 2020 Midwest Collegiate League season, which is slated to begin on Wednesday, July 1 under first-year manager Chris Cunningham.
The squad has brought back three players who have spent time with the Oilmen in previous years as right-handed pitcher Kyle Iwinski (Kankakee / Griffith, Ind.), left-handed pitcher Connor Oliver (Wichita State / Wabash Valley / Oak Forest, Ill.) and left-handed pitcher Joe Graziano (Butler / Schererville, Ind.) all return. The latest batch of Oilmen signees also includes a quintet of newcomers – right-handed pitcher Terry Busse (South Suburban / Valparaiso, Ind.), infielder Benji Brokemond (Miami Ohio / South Holland, Ill.), outfielder and former MLB draft pick Kendal Ewell (Eastern Kentucky / Calumet City, Ill.), catcher Angelo Cantelo (Lewis / Blue Island, Ill.) and left-handed pitcher Isaiah Coupet (Ohio State / Flossmoor, Ill.).
Iwinski logged eight innings with the Oilmen last summer, appearing in three games during the month of June including one start. He racked up 12 strikeouts, including eight in his five-inning start against Joliet on June 16. The Griffith High School product rounded out his career with the Panthers in 2019 before moving on to Kankakee CC.
Oliver also pitched for the Oilmen last summer, working 15 2/3 innings over five appearances including three starts. He racked up 17 strikeouts against 11 bases on balls. The southpaw made one start on the mound as a freshman at Wichita State during the 2020 spring season, allowing one unearned run on two hits with three strikeouts and two walks in two innings against Arkansas Pine Bluff. The Shockers eventually won the game 2-1 in walk-off fashion.
Oliver was a four-year letter winner and starter at Oak Forest High School, serving as a team captain during his junior and senior campaigns. He earned first-team all-state status, was the conference Player of the Year as a senior and earned first team all-conference accolades in each of his final two prep seasons. The lefty tallied an 0.79 ERA in 44 1/3 innings while striking out 79 and going 8-0 as a senior. He helped his team to a regional title as a sophomore and a regional runner-up showing as a junior. Oliver also played football and basketball at Oak Forest.
Graziano previously pitched for the Oilmen in 2017, logging 31 innings and compiling a sparkling 1.16 earned run average. He went 3-1 over seven games including five starts and accrued 39 strikeouts against just six walks. The left-handed hurler was a weekend starter for Butler during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, making four starts and striking out 15 over 17 1/3 innings. He was a midweek starter as a sophomore and went 4-4 with a 4.09 ERA in 15 appearances after going 3-0 in 13 games (four starts) as a freshman.
Graziano was a three-year letter winner at Lake Central, where he helped the Indians to a 20-7 overall mark and 8-4 conference record during a sectional-winning season. He went 6-3 on the mound as a senior with a 2.11 ERA and 84 strikeouts. The talented southpaw walked just 13 batters in 60 innings of work and was an all-conference and all-area selection. Also a basketball player at Lake Central, Graziano tossed a pair of perfect games on the L.C. diamond.
Busse finished his senior season at Valparaiso High School in 2020 and played summers with the Morris Chiefs. He’s set to embark on his college career at South Suburban.
Brokemond will be a redshirt freshman at Miami (Ohio) during the 2021 season after he did not see action in 2020. The Brother Rice High School graduate was a first-team all-conference selection as a high school senior in 2019, when he hit .517 with three home runs, 20 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
Ewell appeared in six games during his abbreviated freshman season at Eastern Kentucky. He chose to join the Colonels after being selected in the 40th round of the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Colorado Rockies. His selection came after he hit .385 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 41 RBIs and 34 runs scored as a senior at Marist High School in 2019. The all-conference pick and offensive player of the year led the Redhawks to a 26-11 mark, region title and sectional championship.
Cantelo completed his freshman season at Lewis University in 2020 after playing his prep ball at Marian Catholic. He appeared in nine games and made five starts while launching two home runs and driving in seven during the shortened season, which saw the Flyers play 11 games.
Coupet is poised to continue his baseball career in the Big Ten Conference at The Ohio State University after graduating from Homewood-Flossmoor High School. The 6-foot-1 lefty was an all-SWSC selection and posted a 2.05 ERA with 58 strikeouts as a junior for H-F coach John McCarthy in 2019. He has previously played summer ball for the Lou Collier A’s.
This group will join the previously-announced Oilmen players to begin the team’s ninth season of MCL play starting on July 1.