05/25/2017 12:36 PM -
You’d be hard-pressed to find a player who has had a better Northwest Indiana Oilmen career than Tyler Sroczynski. The incoming fifth-year senior at Trinity Christian already has the all-time and single-season Oilmen records for home runs, runs scored and stolen bases, and in 2017 he’ll try to distance himself from the pack in his third stint with the region’s team.
“I didn’t really have any expectations my first year and wanted to become a role player on the team,” Sroczynski said. “Last year, I went into the season with the goal to increase my power numbers, which I did, and I was happy about that. This summer, being my last summer playing and going into my fifth year of college, my main goal is just to win; do whatever I can as a player to help my team win.”
Sroczynski has already helped the Oilmen win plenty. He is the two-time reigning Midwest Collegiate League MVP, and has played more games in an Oilmen uniform (67) than anyone in team history. He hopes he can lead the Oilmen to a second-straight MCL title after a disappointing season at Trinity.
“We went into the season thinking ‘we’re going to be one of the top three, four teams in the conference,’” Sroczynski said. “Every other team thought that too, and then we were under .500. I don’t know what the issue was, we just couldn’t figure it out … individual accomplishments are cool and all, but I haven’t won much in my college career besides the championship last year. That’s something I really want to accomplish this summer: a repeat.”
Sroczynski loves to win, but it isn’t why he is returning to the Oilmen this summer. Playing close to home, under his college coach and in front of family is what keeps him coming back to Northwest Indiana.
“Being close to home and being able to play under the assistant coach at Trinity, [Oilmen coach Adam] Enright, is huge for me. We can work on stuff in the summer that I can put into my spring season at Trinity. Mainly, it’s just being close to family and friends … My grandfather has been going to every single one of my Oilmen games, my college games, my high school games, ever since I started playing. Honestly, I wasn’t planning on playing with the Oilmen this summer until after the season; my grandfather actually convinced me because it is my last summer. That’s the main reason I decided to come back this year, so he could come watch me play.”
Sroczynski, a Dyer, Ind. native, says he hopes to steal more bases this season (he’s been working on his agility) and lead the Oilmen to a first-place regular season finish. The Oilmen have made the MCL playoffs in each of its first five seasons, but have never won the regular season crown.
The reigning MCL champion Oilmen start their season on May 26 against the Joliet Admirals. The team’s home opener is June 8 at Oil City Stadium against the Southland Vikings.