Wolverine pitching heading north
It will be a big change for T.J. Dwyer, moving from trendy Truckee in the Sierra to a blue-collar logging town frequently shrouded with coastal fog.
But in addition to the clothes and nick-knack memorabilia that he packs into a few duffel bags as he prepares for his move to Coos Bay, Ore., Dwyer will also be taking his passion for the game of baseball.
In fact, it’s why he is packing his bags in the first place.
Dwyer was recently offered an 80-percent baseball scholarship for one year at Southwest Oregon Community School, a junior college approximately 100 miles north of the California-Oregon border.
Dwyer got the offer after a 60-pitch workout in front of Southwest Oregon Head Coach Corky Franklin last week.
“I was pretty nervous,” Dwyer said. “But I pitched great, and afterward he pulled me aside and said he would send me a letter of intent.”
Dwyer is hoping to assume a starting role in the pitching rotation.
“They are looking for pitchers, so I lucked out,” he said. “But I’m definitely going there to pitch.”
Franklin just finished his first year at Southwest Community College, where he is looking to rebuild their baseball program.
Dwyer’s coach for the last two years, Truckee Wolverines Head Baseball Coach Jason Estabrook, said he thinks Dwyer has a realistic shot at capturing a starting position because of his work ethic.
“T.J. has a great opportunity to come in [to the program] and pitch in a starting role,” Estabrook said. “It’s not very often we get someone from the baseball program who gets an opportunity like this. But he works hard – He is passionate about baseball … He has tremendous potential, especially if he buys into Corky’s program.”
But Dwyer said he has already made that commitment.
“I bought into our football program, I bought into our baseball program. I worked hard and was on time,” he said.
Even more important, Dwyer said he wants to continue to learn and improve.
“Buying into the program [also] means listening to the coaches and being a coachable person,” he said.
The school is a member of the Northwest Athletic Association for Community Colleges (NWAACC), which includes the community colleges of Oregon and Washington.
The Lakers finished the season in the NWAACC South Division, going 12-16 overall.
Dwyer will also use his final season in a Wolverines’ uniform as motivation.
“I didn’t have a great season. I had a great junior season, and I thought I was going to just go out and dominate the league. But I had a rude awakening,” Dwyer said.
He blamed the lackluster performance, at least in part, on his off-season regiment last summer.
“I didn’t work as hard as I should have, but I’m going to throw all summer [this year],” Dwyer said.