05/09/2015 7:29 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – May 9, 2015 – The Northwest Indiana Oilmen have announced that left-handed pitcher Hunter Clark will join a pair of Eastern Illinois teammates on the Oilmen roster this summer.
Fellow Panther freshmen Luke Dietz and Josh Turnock have already been announced as part of the 2015 Oilmen. Clark, a 6-foot-1 freshman, is a graduate of Penn High School and native of Granger, Indiana.
During his prep career, Clark played travel baseball with the Michiana Clippers, helping his team to a 294-57-2 record over six seasons. The Clippers were ranked No. 21 in Perfect Game Baseball’s national rankings in 2013.
Clark is known for his sharp breaking ball, which contributed to Eastern Illinois’ interest in offering him the chance to play Division-I baseball.
“It’s amazing how many lefties we recruit that don’t even have a breaking ball,” Panthers coach Jim Schmitz said. “You need that specialty guy to get lefties out. We want him to make lefties feel uncomfortable in there, and some of the other lefties that we have don’t do that.”
Clark relies heavily on the breaking pitch, but is working on developing second and third pitches that could allow him to eventually become a starting pitcher. He is attempting to improve his fastball command to increase his worth at Eastern Illinois, while his third pitch is a changeup that remains a work in progress.
“To be a lefty starter, you don’t have to have three pitches, but you better have something different,” Schmitz said. “You need either a lot of movement on your fastball or a lot of sink, and he doesn’t have that yet. That will be something for him to work on this summer. He’s got to work on those pitches in game situations.”
Clark will join Dietz and Turnock as the first trio of Eastern Illinois players to wear an Oilmen uniform. The Panthers, who are members of the Ohio Valley Conference, do have a history of assigning players to the Midwest Collegiate League.
Eastern Illinois’ current roster is littered with familiar names for fans of the MCL. Demetre Taylor, Drew Sterioti, Mitch Gasbarro, Frankie Perrone, Adam Casson and Alex Cain have all spent time in the Midwest Collegiate League. In addition, Eastern Illinois players Hunter Morris, Joe Duncan and Bobby Wenthe will play for DuPage County this summer, adding to the intrigue of matchups between the Oilmen and Hounds.