Hammond grad Mike Coles is getting his first taste of helping coach college baseball close to home.
Coles, who played five games in May with the Atlantic League's York Revolution, got a tip from Griffith coach Brian Jennings, a friend of Coles. Jennings put in a good word with Northwest Indiana Oilmen coach Justin Huisman.
The decision was then made to bring Coles, a former RailCats player, on as a first base coach, and he made his debut Tuesday in a 12-0 blowout win over the Rockford Foresters at home.
"It was pretty funny," Coles said. "We go out and put up six runs in the first inning and about three or four doubles and (Huisman) comes up to me and says 'That a boy, way to get us some runs.'"
Coles stressed that he is definitely not done playing yet, though he said helping out with the Oilmen is a good opportunity for him right now.
"When I talked with (Huisman), he knows I still wanted to continue to play," Coles said. "He was looking for a first base coach and someone to help out. He understands my situation. If someone calls with an opportunity for me to play, he knows I'm going to take it. He wants me around as long as I can be."
A former Parkland College and Purdue player, Coles can impart some wisdom to the Oilmen players along with Huisman.
"In a pro ball atmosphere, guys need to be relaxed to play in order to go out and do your job," said Coles, who is a .301 hitter in his professional career. "I'm just having a pro ball approach to the guys, and just tell them to relax, let them have fun, play and adjust from there."