10/21/2014 12:49 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – Oct. 21, 2014 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen have announced the first member of the 2015 roster with the signing of Rose-Hulman junior Kody Alayon.
The Bishop Noll graduate and sure-handed shortstop was named the most valuable player of the Heartland Conference Tournament a year ago, in addition to picking up first-team all-conference accolades for the regular season.
As only a sophomore, Alayon batted .393 and stole 17 bases. He made several remarkable defensive plays during the conference tournament, including a game-saving catch to his backhand side to preserve a scoreless tie against Anderson.
“At the end of the tournament, there was no question who would be the MVP,” Rose-Hulman coach Jeff Jenkins said. “I think it was unanimous. He made multiple great plays. He was tough at the plate; he was on base all the time.”
The summer will provide Alayon with the chance to take the diamond at Oil City Stadium as a member of the home team, after he played there against rival Whiting while playing with the Bishop Noll Warriors. Alayon also played at Oil City Stadium against the Oilmen the last two years as a member of the Michigan City Lakers.
“I’ve played a lot of games there,” Alayon said. “It’s a great stadium; it’s probably one of my favorite places to play. It’s close to home and I get to play around region players.”
Alayon will become the first ever Rose-Hulman Fightin’ Engineer to sport an Oilmen uniform, while joining Danny Pobereyko, Matt Pobereyko and Larry Crisler as Bishop Noll alumni to play for Northwest Indiana.
Alayon elected to join Division-III Rose-Hulman because he was impressed by the school’s sound reputation for job placement.
“I always wanted to play D-I baseball, and I felt like I had the skills to do it, but I also wanted to be conscious of my future career,” Alayon said. “I went to a school that would give me the best of both worlds.”
Alayon lists improving his fielding percentage as a goal for the upcoming spring and summer seasons, while Jenkins would like to see him cut down on his strikeouts.
Jenkins raved about Alayon’s upbeat, positive attitude and high level of energy.
“The guys sense that he plays hard all the time,” Jenkins said. “He’s one of those top of the order guys that is just a pest. He gets on base; he steals. He plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played at all times.”
Alayon is looking forward to the experience of competing against high-level talent in the Midwest Collegiate League.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity to see how good of a player I can be,” he said. “I’ll get to see a wide range of pitching. I haven’t seen a good Division-I arm in a long time. I’m interested to see how well I play with some of the best players from Indiana and other states.”