Oilmen to face Military Stars
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent June 27, 2013 11:14PM
Updated: July 30, 2013 8:37AM
WHITING — Once again, the Northwest Indiana Oilmen will be the home team at Oil City Stadium in early July and, again, they probably won’t be the team receiving the majority of the crowd’s cheers.
That’s because, for the second year in a row, the Oilmen will be hosting the U.S. Military All-Stars, a team comprised of veterans from all of the military’s branches, with this year’s contest scheduled for a 7:10 p.m. first pitch Monday.
“Last year we had such a great response from the community,” Oilmen general manager Jim Taipalus said. “Part of the proceeds to go the Wounded Warrior project, and that’s something our owners Don Popravak and Ron Kittle have always supported. It’s something we decided would be best for, not only the community, but also for the Wounded Warriors, the Military All-Stars and our team as well.”
The night’s festivities will begin with a patriotic ceremony, a service that stood in the minds of those who witnessed it last summer.
“The pregame ceremony,” Craig Austgen quickly replied when asked about what he remembered from last year’s game. Austgen, an infielder for the Oilmen, is one of two NWI players who’ll be playing in this game for the second time. “I really liked what they did with the National Anthem and everything else. It made me appreciate our country more.”
After the game, a fireworks display will conclude the evening. The nine innings of baseball in the middle figure to be another competitive contest, similar to last year’s 9-8 contest which ended with the Military All-Stars on top.
“They were good,” said Austgen. “It was a good game last year; they hit a few home runs off of us. I just remember the place being completely packed.”
“I’d heard how good they were,” said Taipalus, who mentioned that the All-Stars went through the famed Cape Cod league with a winning percentage above 80. “We expected it to be a big game when they got here. It was exciting; I think that was the first time that we had fans cheering against us.”
Austgen wasn’t going to argue with the fans’ choice.
“It was a little weird, but I understand it. Maybe they’ll cheer a little bit more for us this time.”
Note: Thursday’s game against Lexington was delayed by rain and did not finish in time for this edition.