Vasic shines at short for Scots
Baseball wasn't a natural choice for Nick Vasic, but he was certainly a natural for it.
The McHenry County College (MCC) shortstop told the McHenry Times that he did not grow up in a baseball family. His grandparents were from Serbia, and his father was more into soccer than baseball -- although Vasic thinks his dad played in high school.
But from age 4 or 5 in a YMCA T-ball league in the Milwaukee area, Vasic took to the national pastime.
“I wasn't really into the other sports as much as baseball,” Vasic said. “So, it just kind of stuck with me going through elementary school, high school and now (at MCC).”
MCC has to be happy Vasic stuck with baseball, as he enters the 2017 season as one of the program's best players in what promises to be another strong campaign.
Last season, Vasic batted .394, drove in 41 runs and scored 56 times. He also had 31 stolen bases, which ranked him 24th in Division II in the National Junior College Athletic Association.
His stats earned him a spot on the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Second Team and made him an All-Region pick as well.
By this time, Vasic is used to being noticed. At New Berlin Eisenhower High School in Wisconsin, he was an All-Suburban selection in 2015 and an All-Woodland pick. And even though he wasn't getting noticed by Division I schools, he knew he wanted to keep playing.
He liked what he saw at MCC. The year he signed, the Scots had peeled off 44 wins.
“That kind of attracted me to the place as well,” he said.
Vasic keyed an even-better season for the Scots in 2016, as they won 50 games — including a school-record 29-game winning streak — and earned a spot in the NJCAA Division II World Series.
While his statistics might seem to disagree, the transition from high school to college ball was not easy for Vasic, as a college program brings a daily grind of mandatory study halls and more competition for a spot on the field. His focus, he said, has been on getting physically bigger and stronger and improving his defense.
His personal goal for the season is to reach All-American status and help the Scots get back to the World Series -- this time, to win it all.
“It was a great experience,” Vasic said of the World Series berth. “It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot of great things from it. But it was also fun playing top-level teams from across the county and competing against them.”
The program has been ranked highly in preseason polls -- but not high enough, perhaps.
“At the end of the day, we have to prove we're a top team,” Vasic said. “But it also kind of made us more hungry, seeing some of the teams ranked before us.”
Vasic has signed with Southern Illinois, where he will hopes to continue playing after his MCC career ends after this season.
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