Date of Birth: 05/12/1998
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 230 lbs
College Experience: University of Missouri St. Louis
Hometown: New Lenox, Ill.
After his stay with the Oilmen was short-lived in 2017 due to an injury, South Suburban sophomore Jackson Dvorak is ready for a longer stay with Northwest Indiana this summer.
Dvorak made a seven-game Oilmen cameo last July, getting 27 at-bats from July 16-23 during a summer that was derailed by a broken hand that necessitated surgery. Now, he’s at full health and is making key contributions to the Bulldogs’ offense this spring.
“I really liked the group of guys the Oilmen had last year,” he said. “I enjoyed playing for Coach (Adam) Enright a lot. It’s a good environment. After the injury, I think I’ve grown as a player and matured a lot. It wasn’t good at the time, but I’m better because of it. I’m excited for this summer to come and to be back with the Oilmen.”
Dvorak entered the spring expected to be South Suburban’s starting first baseman, but the team’s top third baseman went down with an oblique injury and the backup at the hot corner has battled mono, leading to a move across the diamond for the New Lenox, Ill. native.
When South Suburban coach Steve Ruzich asked Dvorak to move to third, he didn’t hesitate to accept the challenge.
“He’s a great kid and a great student,” Ruzich said. “He leads by example. He’s the first one on the field and the last one to leave. He comes from Providence, where they won three state titles, so he knows what it takes to win. His work ethic is better than anyone’s.”
Dvorak was teammates with fellow 2018 Oilman Tom Kelley at Providence Catholic, where both graduated in 2016 after playing for a Celtics team that won three straight state championships their sophomore, junior and senior years. Dvorak drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning of the state championship game his senior season.
“It was definitely a great experience being a part of those state championship teams,” Dvorak said. “Being in those games was unforgettable. It makes you a better player when you come from a program like that.”
This will be Dvorak’s third season in the MCL, as he was a member of the Joliet Admirals in 2016 immediately following his senior year of high school. Dvorak played in 24 games and posted a .284 average and .396 OBP for a team that qualified for the playoffs and faced the eventual league-champion Oilmen in the MCL semifinals.
“He’s shortened down his swing a little bit,” Ruzich said. “Sometimes it can be too long, and he knows that. He’s an adjustment guy. He’s at his best when he goes the other way. When he can do that, he tears it up. It’s all about consistency.”
Dvorak is in his final season of junior college eligibility. He has Division II offers and is drawing interest from mid-major Division I programs.
“Hitting is without question the strength of my game,” Dvorak said. “I hope to be able to drive in some runs this summer – that’s a big part of my job on a team. I’m working on improving defensively. During the summer, I was able to get some work in with Coach Enright. For me, it’s extremely important to get at-bats and get work in over the summer.”