08/18/2021 2:24 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – Aug. 18, 2021 – Following Jack Guzek’s first start in a Northwest Indiana Oilmen uniform in May 2019, then Oilmen manager Kevin Tyrrell delivered a quote that would prove prophetic.
“If there’s a better pitcher in this league, I’d pay to see him.”
Three summers later, what many have known all along is now official: Jack Guzek (Iowa / Manhattan, Ill.) is the best pitcher in the Midwest Collegiate League. The righty became the first pitcher in Oilmen history to garner the MCL Pitcher of the Year Award as the league announced its postseason honors on Wednesday.
In addition to winning the league’s highest pitching honor in a lopsided vote, Guzek was the lone unanimous selection on the 15-player All-MCL Team, which featured five members of the Oilmen. Third baseman Casey Kmet (Notre Dame / Arlington Heights, Ill.), outfielder Jacob Ferry (Morehead State / Aurora, Ill.), second baseman Kevin McCormick (Evansville / Orland Park, Ill.) and utility man AJ Wright (Northwood / Griffith, Ind.) joined Guzek on the All-MCL squad.
Guzek posted a 2.00 ERA and glowing 7-1 record over eight regular-season starts before earning another victory in his lone postseason outing. The Oilmen legend struck out 65 and walked just two over 45 innings in his third and final season with the Oilmen. He shattered single-season (65) and career (145) Oilmen strikeouts records during his final start of the regular season. Guzek was the lone player to compete for the Oilmen in each of the last three seasons.
“It’s awesome to hold a place in the record book,” Guzek said. “I know the Oilmen have been around for quite a while, so it’s good to feel like I contributed to the team in that way. It was an awesome season, and it’s always fun to play when you’re winning and everyone is having a good time. The atmosphere and everyone around the team kept me coming back. It’s been so much fun.”
Ferry posted a team-best .375 batting average to go along with a .488 on-base percentage while slugging .542. He also paced the squad in RBIs (29) and stolen bases (20) while ranking second on the team in runs scored (29) and tied for the team lead in doubles (9). He also earned MCL All-Star Game MVP honors by belting a home run in the league’s midsummer classic.
Wright ranked second on the team in stolen bases (12) and tied atop the team with nine doubles. He led the squad in runs scored (32) while finishing third in RBIs (20). He batted .325 and reached base at a .427 clip while enjoying 15 multi-hit games in his 31 Oilmen contests including a pair of four-hit outputs.
Kmet notched an impressive slash line of .326/.467/.630 in 13 games with the Oilmen. He slugged three home runs, drove in 18 and scored on 16 occasions. Kmet had four multi-hit outputs and four games with three or more RBIs. All four Oilmen All-MCL choices were also selected to the MCL All-Star Game in July.
McCormick hit .368 with a .448 on-base percentage in 18 games this summer. He had nine multi-hit games including five games with three or more hits. He had a season-high four hits in his Oilmen debut on June 23 against the Minutemen.
Joliet’s Joe Silva was named the MCL Manager of the Year, while Bryce Vincent of the Generals garnered league MVP honors. The Oilmen finished with the league’s most All-MCL honorees.
2021 MCL All-League Team
P – Michael Laudondo, Crestwood Panthers
P – Jack Guzek, NWI Oilmen (unanimous)
P – Billy Lepretre, Chicago American Giants
P – Nolan Vlcek, Southland Vikings
P – Jake Paymaster, Southland Vikings
OF – Ronald Applewhite, Crestwood Panthers
OF – Tre' Hondras, Chicago American Giants
OF – Jacob Ferry, NWI Oilmen
C – Gannon Andrews, Crestwood Panthers
1B – Patrick Doran, Southland Vikings
2B – Kevin McCormick, NWI Oilmen
SS – Bryce Vincent, Joliet Generals
3B – Casey Kmet, NWI Oilmen
UTL – AJ Wright, NWI Oilmen
MCL Manager of the Year History
2021 – Joe Silva, Joliet Generals
2020 – Isaac Valdez, Crestwood Panthers
2019 – Jake Wegner, Bloomington Bobcats
2018 – Ben Caple, DuPage County Hounds
2017 – Kevin Franchetti, Southland Vikings
2016 – Tom Barry, Joliet Admirals
2015 – Sean Osborne, DuPage County Hounds
MCL MVP History
2021 – Bryce Vincent, Joliet Generals
2020 – Ray Hilbrich, Crestwood Panthers
2019 – Nick Santoro, DuPage County Hounds
2018 – Nate Montgomery, NWI Oilmen
2017 – Jack Butler, Bloomington Bobcats
2016 – Tyler Sroczynski, NWI Oilmen
2015 – Tyler Sroczynski, NWI Oilmen
2014 – Bobby Sheppard & Jeff Boehm, Southland Vikings
MCL Pitcher of the Year History
2021 – Jack Guzek, NWI Oilmen
2020 – Jordan Smevoll, DuPage County Hounds
2019 – Justin Rios, Southland Vikings
2018 – Quinn Gudaitis, Bloomington Bobcats
2017 – Kevin Glynn, Southland Vikings
2016 – Mitch Weis, Bloomington Bobcats
2015 – Tom Concklin, DuPage County Hounds