Oilmen pitcher Andy Wellwerts off to 3-0 start this year
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent June 27, 2013 11:14PM
Oilmen's Andy Wellwerts throws a pitch aginst Michigan City during their game held at Oil City Stadium in Whiting on Sunday June 16, 2013. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 30, 2013 8:37AM
WHITING — Andy Wellwerts was a late arrival to the Northwest Indiana Oilmen last summer.
It was late July when Wellwerts joined the squad, which was well into its regular-season schedule. He made one regular-season start for the Oilmen in 2012, earning a win over the Chicago Zephyrs. Two weeks later, Wellwerts was on the mound as the Oilmen captured the 2012 MCL championship, earning the win by allowing one run on 62/3 innings of work.
“I felt honored to be there, because I wasn’t on the team for the whole season,” said Wellwerts. “I just got lucky that it was my turn to throw.”
After winning the MCL title, Wellwerts returned to Chicago State, where he was one of the top arms on the Cougars’ pitching staff.
“I looked at it as me knowing that I can succeed after throwing in the championship game and winning,” said Wellwerts, who led Chicago State in ERA, wins and innings pitched. “It boosted my confidence a lot.”
Wellwerts continues to shine on the mound in his second season with the Oilmen. In three starts, he has a 3-0 record with a 2.25 ERA. In 16 innings of work, Wellwerts has allowed only four runs on six walks and seven hits while striking out 14 batters.
There have been some bumps in the road, though, and Wellwerts has been his own harshest critic.
“I’m kind of disappointed in myself because all of the runs that have scored because of me; I made the mistake,” he said, citing leaving pitches up and walking batters as his two biggest issues.
In Wellwerts’ second start of the season, those mistakes were present as he was tagged for three runs by the Michigan City Lakers. After giving up two singles, Wellwerts hung a pitch for Westville product Lou Grounds, who hit a three-run homer.
“I don’t think anybody was worried when Andy did that,” Oilmen manager Justin Huisman said after the game. “It was just one of those pitches where he made a mistake and it hurt him. But he battles. I knew he was going to give us everything he had, and he did.”
Wellwerts kept the Lakers scoreless for the remainder of his outing, and the Oilmen bounced back to win 10-3.
With the Oilmen again on top of the MCL standings in 2013, Wellwerts said he’s looking for this team to repeat its 2012 success.
“I want to do it again,” Wellwerts said without hesitation when asked about this year’s team. “We definitely have a good offense; I can tell you that. We have a good defense, too.”