The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Oilmen to Open 2014 Season by Hosting Defending Champion Southland

05/26/2014 8:47 PM -

Northwest Indiana Oilmen (0-0)
vs. Southland Vikings (0-0)

May 27, 2014 • 7:10 p.m. (CT) • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: AM 1230 WJOB

For Starters
The Oilmen begin the franchise’s third season in existence as a Midwest Collegiate League team on Tuesday night.  Historically, the Oilmen have struggled on opening day, losing to DuPage County in the franchise’s first-ever game in 2012 before falling to Michigan City to start the 2013 campaign.  This game marks the first time the Oilmen have opened a season at home. 

Inside the Oilmen
The Oilmen have reached the Midwest Collegiate League championship series in each of the first two seasons under head coach Justin Huisman.  The Oilmen captured the league crown in the inaugural 2012 campaign.  This year’s roster is loaded with new faces as only four players – Jimmy McNamara, Danny Pobereyko, Matt Pobereyko and Scott Jerge – return from last year’s squad.  This year’s team features more local talent than ever before as graduates of Lake Central, Michigan City, Portage, Bishop Noll, Kankakee Valley, Munster, Whiting, Highland and Crown Point are all featured on the roster. The Oilmen hold a .719 all-time winning percentage in games played at Oil City Stadium.

Inside the Vikings
The defending league champions have a difficult test in the early portion of the season as they play nine of their first 11 games away from home.  The Vikings have the core of their league championship team back including key pitchers Aaron Hauge (Southern Illinois), Brandon White (Hill Community College) and Chris Chigas (Phoenix College). The Southland offense features Indiana University’s Chris Sujka, former Oilman John Livingston and Lake Central graduate Chase Fieldhouse. Livingston, a Highland graduate, is one of only two players in league history, along with Tyler Hanson, to win two Midwest Collegiate League titles. Both captured championships with the Vikings last season after doing so with the Oilmen in 2012.

About the Matchup
Southland, which plays its home games in Flossmoor, Ill. is Northwest Indiana’s nearest Midwest Collegiate League foe in terms of proximity.  This marks a rematch of last year’s league championship series, which the Vikings swept in two games.  Southland is the only MCL opponent that the Oilmen hold a losing record against.  NWI is 10-12 in all-time meetings with the Vikings.   These two teams will gain familiarity with one another in the early portion of this season as five of Northwest Indiana’s first 10 games will be against Southland.

Around the MCL
Tonight’s game between the Vikings and Oilmen is the only one on the Midwest Collegiate League slate this evening.  It is also the first MCL game played this season.  The Chicago Zephyrs will return for their fifth season in the league, the DuPage County Hounds are set to embark on their third MCL campaign and the Lexington Snipes are back for their second season.  The Rockford Foresters have moved their home games to Joliet Junior College and rebranded as the Joliet Admirals this year.

Click "download attachment" to view a full PDF of Oilmen Game Notes.