01/09/2015 1:42 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – Jan. 9, 2015 – For outfielder Tyler Sroczynski, getting used to new surroundings has become nothing out of the ordinary.
Sroczynski should feel right at home over the summer, as the Dyer native and Illiana Christian graduate will play for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen.
After sitting out his freshman year at Grand Valley State, Sroczynski is a redshirt freshman at Wabash Valley Community College. Another change of scenery is on the horizon, as he will depart the junior college for a four-year school.
“Wabash Valley is a huge difference from Grand Valley State, which is a four-year school,” Sroczynski said. “There are no restrictions on practice time at a junior college, and you get a lot more one-on-one time with the coaches. I’ve really enjoyed the junior college experience.”
For longtime Oilmen fans, the following player description may sound eerily familiar: an Oilmen outfielder who graduated from Illiana Christian High School and played for Grand Valley State.
Chris Rudenga, an outfielder from the Midwest Collegiate League champion 2012 team, played at both Illiana Christian and Grand Valley State. Rudenga batted .302 with 20 RBIs during the team’s inaugural season. Sroczynski spoke with his former teammate about his Oilmen experience.
“I’m always away at college, so it’ll be nice to stay home in the summer,” Sroczynski said. “The Oilmen are definitely the premier team in the area.”
Another element that attracted Sroczynski to the Oilmen is the team’s first-year manager. He played for Adam Enright four years ago with the Hammond Chiefs.
“I really liked him as a coach; I liked what he had to say,” Sroczynski said. “The way he coaches and the way he strategizes helped me a lot. I saw him last year at a showcase, and he ended up calling me and asking me to play.”
Wabash Valley coach Rob Fournier said Sroczynski has size, speed and great baseball makeup.
“He’s a player with a tremendous tool set,” Fournier said. “He’s very physical, but on the other side, he’s very raw. We knew we had something to work with, but we knew we were going to have to work hard to bring out that tool set. This year is going to be huge for him.”
As a senior at Illiana Christian in 2013, Sroczynski posted a .514 batting average, 38 hits and 27 RBIs, leading his team in all three categories. He also launched three home runs and was named to the Metro Suburban Conference team.
“Tyler is very gifted; it’s just a matter of playing,” Fournier said. “He knows what he wants to do and how to get there, he just needs more experience. He’s smart, coachable and well-liked among teammates.”