Saanich slugger crushing it at college

Lambrick Park grad Nick Seginowich goes 11-for-17 in series, earns national award

He’s only a freshman but Nick Seginowich is off to a roaring start to his college baseball career.

Seginowich, a Cordova Bay 18-year-old out of the Lambrick Park baseball academy, is the National Junior College Athletic Association Player of the Week after a huge performance against the Colorado Northwestern Spartans last weekend.

The Bruins took three of four in the series on the back of Seginowich, who went 11-for-17 at the plate with two home runs, five doubles, seven RBI’s and four runs scored. In addition to the NJCCA award Seginowich also won the Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Week award for the second time in his short career. In March, Seginowich went 6-for-13 with two home runs, four runs, six RBIs and two doubles in four games against Southern Idaho.

If it sounds impressive, it is.

“My coach told the team, so it was really cool, it made me feel like I belong here and I can do big things,” Seginowich said. “It can help me get exposure for a Div. 1 university and a chance to get drafted if I can play this way.”

This season the catcher is comfortable in the second hitting spot with a .333 batting average (33 hits in 99 at-bats), and leads the team with four home runs and 24 RBIs.

Only eight months ago Seginowich was the starting catcher for the Victoria Mariners in the B.C. Premier Baseball League. Winning this award, especially as a freshman is unheard of to say the least, said Mike Chewpoy, who leads the Lambrick Park baseball academy and the PBL Mariners.

“It’s not impossible, but it’s as close to impossible as you’re going to get,” Chewpoy said. “Seginowich is competing against thousands of athletes, it’s more than 130 schools with 28 guys on each team.”

Needeless to say, Seginowich is the first Lambrick Park grad to win NJCCA Player of the Week. It’s also a first for the Bruins.

Seginowich said the only thing he did differently going into last week’s series against Colorado Northwestern was to visualize his at-bats, on the day of and then in the minutes leading up to each at-bat.

“When we got off the bus it was freezing cold and we weren’t feeling too good, so I just put myself in a good mindset, trying to visualize what I want to do,” Seginowich said. “I visualized before every at-bat, not talking to anyone before my at-bats.”

Starting with Layritz Little League, Seginowich rose through the youth baseball ranks with a year of pee wee at Gordon Head Baseball and a year of bantam with the Victoria Eagles before cracking the Mariners junior premier lineup in 2013 (and finishing as the team MVP). He played for the premier Mariners from 2014 to 2016 and was named the PBL first team all-star catcher PBL MVP in 2016. He took the scholarship with Salt Lake City junior college because it was the best package offered.

When Seginowich showed up to Lambrick Park secondary’s baseball academy as a Grade 9 student his coach immediately took notice.

“He was going to play bantam, with only a 54-foot [distance] to the pitching mound, and I was watching him and [Tyler Schindel, born two days apart] and said these guys need to play junior premier.”

Seginowich was part of what Chewpoy calls the Mariners best-ever starting five in the batting lineup, with Jesse Mycock at leadoff (Southeastern Illinois CC), Tyler Schindel (San Diego Christian University) at second, Seginowich third, Jason Willow (current Mariners shortstop and 2017 MLB draft prospect committed to University of California at Santa Barbara) at cleanup and Chris Lata in fifth position (Southeastern Illinois).

All five hit with an average exit velocity (a fairly new stat to baseball) in the 80-mile-per-hour range, an above average level for the PBL (with Seginowich at 88 mph).

So far, the biggest jump to college for Seginowich is the consistency of the pitching, which is also a blessing, Seginowich said.

“Back home I only faced pitches in upper 80s (mpg) every once in a while, it was mostly around 75, and guys who weren’t going on to college,” Seginowich said. “Here, it’s all guys over 83, up to 95, all the time, but I like it a lot better.

“The thing with guys in the 70s, they don’t really know what they’re doing, you get frustrated, you expect to do a lot against them, but you can’t dig in and guess what pitches are coming.”

The Victoria Mariners (2-0) are in Kamloops this weekend for the five-day Best of the West tournament, while the Victoria Eagles (0-2) are home Saturday for a double-header at Lambrick Park against the Parksville Royals, noon and 2:35 p.m.