04/09/2016 9:38 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – April 9, 2016 – When Cory Krolikowski heard about his Bartlett High School teammate Jordan Flint playing for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen, he wasted little time reaching out to the team.
After all, playing together in the summer has become the norm for Krolikowski and Flint.
As so often is the case, the Oilmen will provide a chance for prep teammates who have gone their separate ways for college to reunite on the diamond. Krolikowski, a freshman outfielder at Division-II Minnesota Duluth, has agreed to play with the Oilmen this summer.
“The first thing was hearing of the success of the program,” Krolikowsi said. “They’ve got a great new stadium with a nice surface. My old high school buddy Jordan Flint told me about it, so I reached out to the Oilmen and signed with them.”
Minnesota Duluth plays in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and currently sits at 12-8 and 5-3 in league activity. Krolikowski has appeared in nine games and made four starts early in his initial college season.
“It’s a jump, that’s for sure,” he said. “The pitching is a lot better. You have to know what you’re doing at all times. It took a little while to adjust, but everything is going good. I’m getting some playing time here at the beginning of the season, so that’s been nice.”
During his high school tenure, Krolikowski received All-Upstate Eight Conference honors before his junior and senior seasons and twice earned academic all-conference recognition. As a senior, he earned second team all-conference as a defensive back for Bartlett’s football team.
Krolikowski received looks from DI programs like Illinois State and Morehead State, but decided upon Minnesota Duluth, which he said is jumping to be one of the top Division II programs in the country.
After playing shortstop most of his life, Krolikowski transitioned to outfield a year ago. One of his areas of focus this summer will be improving his defensive prowess.
“I’m still getting used to playing the outfield and not the infield,” he said. “I’m working on seeing the ball day in and day out and taking the best routes. That’s definitely something I want to improve over the summer.”
Hitting has always been his strong suit.
“My speed incorporates into my hitting,” Krolikowski said. “I can put the ball in play a lot more and end up with hits that might not have been hits, but my speed helps me out. I see the ball really well, and my strength is probably hitting gap-to-gap.”
As a senior in high school, Krolikowski was bestowed the honor of being a team captain. He valued that role and hopes to eventually serve as a captain for the Bulldogs.
When reflecting upon his baseball career to this point, a story that stands out for Krolikowski came during his youth. His team, the Angels, won the league tournament and moved on to the district tournament.
“It was the bottom of the sixth inning of the championship game, and they only play six innings in little league,” Krolikowski said. “They had the bases loaded and a kid hit a line drive up the middle, and I snagged it from short and it was pretty cool. I think I had two home runs in that game too.”
Krolikowski and the Oilmen will strive for a championship of their own when the journey begins on May 26 at Bloomington. The home opener will be Tuesday, June 7 at 7:20 p.m. against the Michigan City Lakers.