The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Oilmen, Generals Set for First Meeting of Season

06/15/2019 3:11 PM -

Joliet Generals (2-3)
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (5-5)

June 16, 2019 • 4:10 p.m. • Whiting, Ind. • Oil City Stadium
Broadcast: Oilmen Broadcasting Network (Facebook Live) 

For the first time this season, the Joliet Generals and Northwest Indiana Oilmen will clash on Sunday. It’s Father’s Day at the ballpark as all dads will receive free admission to the game. Joliet is the final team that the Oilmen have yet to play this season. The Generals have played just five games, by far the fewest in the league.

Game Notes

  • It’s a homecoming of sorts for Joliet manager Matt Vitulli as he spent the 2018 season as an assistant coach under former Oilmen manager Adam Enright. When Enright accepted a head coaching position in Missouri during the season and began to transition into his role at Missouri Valley College, Vitulli served as the acting manager for the Oilmen on several occasions including an MCL Semifinal Series victory over Southland. This will mark Vitulli’s first return to Oil City Stadium as Joliet manager.
  • The Oilmen will look for a third straight win after walking off with a 7-6 victory over Crestwood on Friday behind a game-ending double by Clay Thompson. Before Friday, the last walk-off win for the Oilmen came 4-3 over DuPage County on July 13 of last season. In that game, the Oilmen pushed across single tallies in both the eighth and ninth innings to come from behind for the victory. Jake Plastiak’s line-drive single to right scored Amir Wright to secure the triumph.
  • The Oilmen own a 5-4 lead in the all-time series with all nine meetings taking place in 2018, the Generals’ first year in existence. The Oilmen won the final meeting of the season 19-6 on July 25 to capture the season set. The games were often high scoring as the Oilmen scored eight runs or more in six of the nine meetings.
  • Right-hander Jordan Baker gets the ball for the Generals on Sunday. He is the brother of former Oilmen outfielder Chris Baker, who spent three seasons playing for Northwest Indiana. Baker will be opposed by Kyle Iwinski, who will make his first start for the Oilmen. He worked a shutout inning against Crestwood on June 7 in his only Oilmen appearance to date.
  • Ben Berenda had no extra-base hits through the first eight games of the season, but he ripped three doubles on Friday night against Crestwood. As a team, the Oilmen have 25 doubles, second in the league behind only DuPage County’s 30. The three-double output was part of a four-hit game, as Berenda joined Malik Peters and Clay Thompson as the only Oilmen players with four-hit performances this season. Berenda now has a .568 on-base percentage, which ranks second in the MCL behind Bloomington’s Peyton Dillingham (.588) among those with enough plate appearances to qualify.
  • In the same game on Friday, Thompson became the first Oilmen player to register his second four-hit output of the year. The left-handed hitting centerfielder went 4-for-5 against Crestwood on Friday after notching four hits in six tries in a 12-inning game vs. Southland on June 8. Thompson also continued his success on the base paths, swiping four bases to boost his season total to nine. He surpassed Malik Peters (eight) for the team lead in steals.

Historical Notes

  • The Oilmen enter Sunday’s game with a 214-129 (.624) 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).
  • 2019 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.

Staff Notes

  • 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.