Jimmy McNamara still working fast for NWI Oilmen
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent July 4, 2013 7:18PM
Lake Central High graduate Jimmy McNamara throws a pitch for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen this season. | NWI Oilmen photo
Updated: August 6, 2013 6:29AM
WHITING — Don’t be late to the game when Jimmy McNamara is the starting pitcher.
He gained his reputation as a fast-working pitcher during his high school career at Lake Central, which culminated with a three-hit shutout of Roncalli in the 2012 Class 4A state championship game.
The roots of his pace are deeper than that, although its origin is still a mystery, even to him.
“I don’t know how it started. It’s just the rhythm I know. I’ve never really tried to slow myself down,” said the 2012 Post-Tribune Player of the Year. “Starting in Little League, I just worked really fast. I didn’t like taking time between pitches.”
He was perfectly in rhythm at Lake Central, posting a 10-1 record and a 0.82 ERA in his senior season while striking out 124 batters in 76.2 innings. In his freshman campaign at Central Michigan this spring, McNamara made 18 total appearances and five starts for the Chippewas, finishing the year with a 3.67 ERA and a 1-3 record.
Returning to the region this summer as a member of the NWI Oilmen, however, McNamara has been unhittable.
In 22.2 innings pitched, he’s allowed one run. His ERA is a microscopic 0.39. After receiving a no-decision in his first start, he picked up wins in each of his last two starts and earned a third victory with a two-inning outing from the bullpen against the US Military All-Stars on Monday.
Since allowing a solo home run against Rockford on June 13, he has not allowed a run in 13.2 innings. The number of strikeouts he has (20) surpasses the combined number of hits (15) and walks (4) he’s allowed.
“I knew he was a good pitcher from what he did in high school and I knew he was going to be a good pickup for us,” said Oilmen manager Justin Huisman. “But he’s been even more than I expected.”
Huisman, a former pitcher himself who spent time with the Kansas City Royals in 2005, had a similar style as McNamara.
“I was never a guy who liked to think a lot,” Huisman said. “I just wanted to get it and go with my best stuff and see if they can hit it.”
McNamara’s been following that same gameplan and, so far, the MCL can’t hit it.
“I feel like I’m really dialed in,” McNamara said. “My rhythm is good and I’m focused on every pitch.”
McNamara said he was excited to join the Oilmen after knowing of their championship season in 2012 and having competed against several players at Central Michigan who are now his teammates.
“I knew he had a lot of good local guys and, looking at the roster, I knew it was going to be a good team,” he said. “I just came here to get some work, and I’m pitching the best that I have since high school. Hopefully I can do this next year (at Central Michigan).”
Perhaps McNamara can petition Central Michigan to have his starts take place in Northwest Indiana.
“I think there’s something in the air here that just makes me pitch well,” he joked.