04/30/2015 4:49 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – April 30, 2015 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen have announced the addition of Minnesota State University Mankato right-handed pitcher Christian Howell for the 2015 season.
Howell holds a perfect 5-0 record and a 3.78 earned run average as a freshman for the Mavericks this season. He has appeared in six games and made one start, totaling 16 2/3 innings and nine strikeouts while issuing five bases on balls.
Despite being used mostly out of the Mavericks bullpen, Howell ranks second on the team in wins.
Minnesota State has become a national powerhouse and is currently ranked third in all of NCAA Division-II baseball.
“Even though we’ve only lost a few games, we’re always trying to pick upon the negatives,” Howell said. “Positives are good, but at the same time, you’ve got to learn from the negatives. We’re always trying to fix the little things. It’s a great team and we like to play the game.”
The school attracted Howell not only with its successful baseball program, but also with its ability to offer his automotive engineering technology major and manufacturing minor.
“I came here for the degree first,” Howell said. “Schools that offer that major are few and far between, and Minnesota State has a great program. I love the coaches and the players, so it was the right thing to do.”
Howell, a sinkerball pitcher with a low three-quarters delivery, learned about the opportunity to play for the Oilmen from Jeff Kramer, who coached Howell in travel ball.
Howell pitched four seasons for Metea Valley High School in Aurora, Ill., striking out 60 in just under 50 innings as a senior. He also posted a 1.85 ERA and was named all-conference and Naperville Sun All-Area that season.
“Junior year, I didn’t have a very good season,” Howell said. “I didn’t have any confidence in myself. I worked hard, worked my butt off during the summer to get better and worked every day to improve. Senior year, we had a great season and I showed younger kids what baseball is about.”
Although the season will transition from spring to summer, Howell’s approach remains steadfast. He’ll be trying to further his individual game, while helping the team continue its winning tradition.
“I feel like I need to loosen up a little bit,” Howell said. “Sometimes I get a little nit-picky, and I forget that I can throw a baseball pretty hard. Sometimes I lose that and just try to work around hitters instead of getting after them. I’ve been getting after hitters a lot better, and that’s improved my confidence quite a bit.”