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NWI Oilmen return with both new, familiar talent

The Northwest IndianOilmen are Midwest Collegiate League Champs after sweeping best three series against DeKalb County Saturday August 4 2012

The Northwest Indiana Oilmen are the Midwest Collegiate League Champs after sweeping a best of three series against DeKalb County on Saturday, August 4, 2012, in Whiting. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times Media

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If you go

What: Northwest Indiana Oilmen vs. Lexington Snipes

When: First pitch at 7:10 p.m.

Where: Oil City Stadium, Whiting

Skinny: After last night’s exhibition against the Michigan City Lakers, the NWI Oilmen open their 2013 campaign against the MCL’s newest member.

Local players

IF Kenny Mahala (Andrean)

IF Cody Dykema (Lake Central)

IF Craig Austgen (Lowell)

P Andy Wellwerts (Hanover Central)

P Matt Pobereyko (Bishop Noll)

P Danny Pobereyko (Bishop Noll)

P Scott Jerge (Munster)

P Jimmy McNamara (Lake Central)

P Aveeno Nasiloski (Gavit)

P Josh Negele (Crown Point)

P Mike Hanchar (Andrean)

P Jim Hinkleman (Munster)

Updated: July 2, 2013 7:22AM



WHITING — After its inaugural season culminated with the 2012 Midwest Collegiate League Championship, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen return to the diamond at Oil City Stadium tonight to kick off their 2013 campaign.

It’s a combination of fresh faces mixed in with some familiar local names dotting the Oilmen

roster this season, beginning with manager Justin Huisman, who returns for his second season in the Northwest Indiana dugout.

“I’m excited about the whole team; we’ve got a great group of guys,” said Huisman, a 2000 Colorado Rockies draft pick who pitched with the Kansas City Royals in 2004. “I saw them (Tuesday

night) at the team picnic, and they’ve got some size on them.”

One veteran Oilmen back on the club this summer is infielder Cody Dykema, who earned MVP honors in last year’s MCL Championship Series. Dykema hit .366 for the Oilmen in 2012 with 22 RBIs.

Taking the mound tonight will be Hanover Central product Andy Wellwerts, the 2011 PostTribune Player of the Year, who returns for his second season with the squad. One new arm added to the Oilmen roster was the 2012 recipient of that honor—Jimmy McNamara. The southpaw was the winning pitcher in Lake Central’s 2012 state championship victory and comes to the Oilmen after a season of throwing for Central Michigan.

“I’m excited to play with some of the guys that I played with and against in high school,” said McNamara, who will be re-united with a former high school teammate in Dykema. “I just want to get better. They’ve got me slotted as a starter and I’m excited about that.”

While the Oilmen are expanding their talent search with players on the roster from as far away as Arkansas, much of the roster boasts players with short trips to the stadium.

“We always try to see what guys are the top players in the area. We want to bring some local talent to the team,” said Huisman.

In the front office, Oilmen general manager Jim Taipalus said he’s hoping that the team can duplicate its 2012 success.

“We have the same expectations on the field, and I have full confidence that Justin can handle them,” he said.

The Oilmen will again host the US Military All-Stars, this time on Monday, July 1. They’ve also picked up the MCL All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 9. Along with different promotions for every night of the week, the Oilmen have also a special start time of midnight for their Wednesday, July 25 matchup with the Rockford Foresters.



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