04/17/2013 6:10 PM -
Whiting, IN | The Northwest Indiana Oilmen announced today the signing of returning players Elliot Bajda, St. Xavier University; Cody Dykema, Heartland Community College; Craig Austgen, St. Joseph’s College; Ryan Wilkinson, University of Toledo.
Elliot Bajda, a 6-1, 185-pound sophomore from St. Xavier University has signed his letter of intent and is set to return for the Oilmen’s 2013 season. Bajda played 36 games and ended the season with a .305 batting average, .472 OBP, while having 17 stolen bases. On the defensive side, his fielding percentage was .992 with 84 put outs.
“Elliot was a strong utility player with a grasp on any defensive position he played,” said Oilmen Head Coach Justin Huisman. “He is very athletic and proved that he can play ball at this level. His ability to get on base was essential to the team’s success. We’re hoping to have another outstanding season from him.”
Cody Dykema, a 6-3, 192-pound sophomore from Heartland Community College, committed to return to the Oilmen this summer. Dykema played a total of 28 games and ended the season with a .366 batting average which was the second highest on the team.
“Dykema and Bajda both being utility players helps our defense stay strong no matter where they are needed,” said Coach Huisman. “Having Dykema back again is great for both the offense and defense. He has a strong bat which helps him find a way to get on base and score runs.”
Craig Austgen, a 6-2, 177-pound Junior from St. Joseph's College is ready to come back to Whiting, IN and assist the Oilmen in another championship. Last season, Austgen played a total of 32 games and had a .296 batting average and lead the team with 4 triples. On the defensive side, Austgen had a .892 field percentage with the second most assists on the team, 78.
“Playing the hot corner isn’t easy, especially with all the talent in this league. Austgen held his ground and flashed some leather. He has experience and is more than willing to step in the line of fire at third. He’ll help the team without a doubt,” said Coach Huisman. “Getting three infield players back will reinforce our defense. With their knowledge of the field and of the game in general, the new guys will receive some good leadership from the returning players.”
Ryan Wilkinson, a 6-3, 190-pound Junior from University of Toledo has his letter of intent and is ready to suit up for the Oilmen again. Wilkinson is a left-handed pitcher that pitched 4 times for the Oilmen with 4 starts and a record of 1-1. With 21 innings pitched, he recorded 16 strike outs compared to only 3 walks.
“Wilkinson is only one of the three left-handed pitchers on the team and the only returning pitcher. I hate to expect too much out of him, but I will be looking for his help to take some of the new guys under his wing and help them out,” Coach Huisman said. “Wilkinson has experience and I am pleased to have him be a part of the pitching staff again.”
These four athletes and the rest of The Northwest Indiana Oilmen will take to the field this May at Oil City Stadium in Whiting, Indiana. The Oilmen are made up of some of the top collegiate baseball players from around the country, from the Midwest, and from local communities. This is the player’s first taste of professional-level, wood bat baseball before advancing to their own professional careers in the minor leagues.