11/09/2015 7:44 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – November 9, 2015 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen of the Midwest Collegiate League have continued to assemble their 2016 roster by announcing that Eastern Illinois freshman Jordan Flint will call Oil City Stadium home.
Flint, a native of Bartlett, Illinois, is expected to play all over the diamond during his time at Division I Eastern Illinois.
Expectations are high for the two-way talent, but a significant setback took place during a fall scrimmage, when he dove for a fly ball in left field and partially tore his labrum. Flint will undergo surgery on Nov. 24 and miss the entire 2016 spring season, but he is expected to return to the diamond in time to play for the Oilmen.
“It’s sports; you’re going to have injuries,” Flint said. “One of my biggest fears was always getting a long-term injury. It happened, so I’ve got to deal with it and push through it. I’ve got to rehab it and come back stronger.”
Panthers coach Jason Anderson, who spent the last three years as the team’s top assistant, is entering his first season since being promoted to head coach. Anderson felt for Flint when he suffered the injury, but he also recognizes that it could play in the team’s favor long term.
“He’ll redshirt this year and go through the rehab process,” Anderson said. “It’s going to give him the opportunity to see college baseball as a freshman and make him that much better. Thinking of what he’s going to be like as a fifth-year senior is pretty exciting. He’s got to go through the rehab hard, but he’s got that mentality where I think he’ll be just fine.”
As a senior at Bartlett High School, Flint launched two home runs and tallied seven RBIs in a single game.
Flint caught his sophomore and junior seasons, before playing primarily third base as a senior. During the summer, he played mostly shortstop. During the fall, he saw time roaming the outfield and manning the corner-infield spots.
“We expect everything out of him,” Anderson said. “The kid can really do anything. He’s a big, physical guy. He has so much upside that we haven’t figured out which way to go yet.”
Those options includes the mound, a location that Flint occupied over the summer for the first time in recent memory. While playing for the DuPage Training Academy, he was asked to toe the rubber.
“Sure, I’ll try,” he said.
“Try” turned out to be an understatement. Flint threw a seven-inning one-hitter with nine strikeouts, cementing his status as a pitching option for his summer team. That carried over to the fall season at Eastern Illinois, when he nailed down saves and slugged opposite-field home runs to make a favorable first impression.
That initial success was enough to ensure that when he makes his return to the diamond for the Oilmen in the summer, his coaches will be following closely. Until then, it’s a waiting game for Flint.
“I’m not able to do anything because of my injury, so watching is depressing,” Flint said. “I don’t like to watch my guys do all the work and just sit there. Our team works hard and we’re always pushing it to the limit.”