Trogrlic-Iverson one tough Vaquero

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Dedication and hard work turned Trogrlic-Iverson into a JUCO star

By Michael DiStefano

Canadian Baseball Network

It’s been a well-traveled journey for Nick Trogrlic-Iverson early in his baseball career, but each decision has seemingly paid off.

Trogrlic-Iverson grew up in Oakville, Ont., playing baseball throughout the Great Toronto Area (GTA), while also taking part in international tournaments such as the WWBA World Championships. 

After years of pitching in the GTA Trogrlic-Iverson felt the need to move out west further improve his game and gain exposure from people south of the border. 

So in 2016, the high school senior moved to Langley, BC, to play for the highly respected Blaze program coached by Doug Mathieson, current Canadian and Alaskan Area Scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as Jamie Bodaly, who scouts for the Cincinnati Reds.

“The biggest reason why I moved out there was to get more exposure,” Trogrlic-Iverson said. “Not just from the college scouts, but the pro scouts too for future years.”

Trogrlic-Iverson certainly caught the eye of a few schools and scouts in his time with the Blaze. After electing to pass on some NCAA schools, the six-foot-one right-hander decided to go to Central Arizona, a well-decorated junior college baseball program.  

“I was mostly geared on the junior college route so I could really refine my pitching abilities,” he said.

The freshman hurler churned out a nice season for the Vaqueros pitching 24 games out of the pen with a 4-3 record and a 3.04 earned-run average while striking out 40-batters.

After an impressive rookie campaign, the Central Arizona sophomore began the 2018 season ranked as Perfect Game’s fifth overall junior college prospect in North America. He’s since moved up on that list and sits second behind pitching and catching prospect Josh Breaux. 

Although this accolade puts a bit of pressure on the young Canadian pitcher, he welcomes the challenge and determined to use the pressure to his advantage while exuding confidence on the mound. 

“It’s awesome to hear good feedback about myself but I always want to get better; I want to be number one,” he said.

A real winner knows there’s always room for improvement.

After spending his freshman year in the bullpen Trogrlic-Iverson knew he had to aim higher and work harder to capture his true goal.

“I wanted to be a starter this year,” he said.

In order to accomplish his goal, Trogrlic-Iverson took his strong work ethic home to Canada over the summer to try and improve his craft.

“[I] did a lot of throwing and lifting and healthy eating. I gained some strength [too],” Trogrlic-Iverson said. “That just translated to what [I’ve become] this season and it’s been really good.”

The hard work surely paid off for Trogrlic-Iverson. He’s 5-1 on the year with a 2.14 earned-run average and he’s averaging over 11 strikeouts per nine innings. His most recent outing was a 10-1 victory where he surrendered just one earned run and struck out nine batters through seven frames.

Dominating the strike zone has become the right-hander’s biggest weapon.

 “I like to think I have pretty good fastball command and I can throw it wherever I need to. Trogrlic-Iverson said confidently. “I can throw it in any count to any batter and I’m not really scared of anyone either.”

Trogrlic-Iverson displays a tremendous amount of confidence while on the mound and is always looking to tantalize whoever walks into the batter’s box.

He’s certainly proving that with 57 strikeouts in his 46 1/3 innings pitched this season.

The Central Arizona star is in his final year with the program after signing a commitment to play for Gonzaga in 2019.  

“Gonzaga is the dream school,” he said. “I went up there on a visit and fell in love with the place.”

It’s been a long journey for the 20-year-old as Gonzaga will be his third program in four years. But Trogrlic-Iverson still has half of a season to go with the Vaqueros before he can start looking toward the future. 

For now, he’s focused on winning and improving his craft.


 

Michael DiStefano

Michael grew up in Niagara Falls, Ont., but moved to Toronto to pursue his passion for sports journalism. He was introduced to baseball at a young age, and fell in love with the sport right away. True story, Michael’s mother was pregnant with him during the 1993 World Series and minutes after Joe Carter’s home run the family, baby in the tummy and all, packed into the car and drove to Toronto to celebrate with their fellow fans. Thus, he was quite literally introduced to baseball at an early age. His favourite birthday present every year came from his uncle John who always bought him Blue Jays tickets. Michael started writing at the ripe age of 17 when he decided to blog about his three favourite sports: football, hockey and baseball. Michael once took a trip to Dunedin, Fla. for spring training where he got his first taste of real baseball writing experience. That was the moment he knew he wanted to be a journalist. 

 

You can find Michael on Twitter @mickey_canuck."