Jordan rising senior John Kropaczewski said he’s tired of Jordan baseball not getting the respect it deserves. In 2017, he did plenty to make sure that is no longer an issue.
Kropaczewski was as hard an out as there was in the Bi-City this past season. He led the Red Jackets in hitting for the third straight year, as he posted a .419 batting average with 36 hits, three home runs and 35 RBIs. He was just as impressive on the mound, throwing 42 innings with four wins and 48 strikeouts.
Thanks to his play, Kropaczewski was named the All-Bi-City 1A-3A Baseball Player of the Year.
“It was fun,” Kropaczewski said of his junior year. “It was a tough season because we went .500, and we could have won more with the talent we had. For the seniors, it was the best year they’d had. I liked the way we played better teams like Upson-Lee and Mary Persons to compete better. (The Mary Persons game) was one of the best games of my life.”
Kropaczewski was referring to his last regular season start on the mound on April 21. He was strong against the Class 4A team, allowing four hits and no earned runs in his time on the mound. The problem, however, was that Jordan’s errors doomed the team’s chances. The Red Jackets committed five errors that allowed Mary Persons to come back and eventually beat Jordan 12-8.
When Kropaczewski wasn’t thwarting opposing hitters, he was unloading on other pitchers. He hit two of his three home runs in 2017 against Marion County on March 11, with the second one being a shot that cleared the wall for the first out-of-the-park shot at Jordan’s field in at least six years.
Jordan head coach Tony Dimitri said it was the first such home run in his six years as head coach and guessed there might have been 10 such hits since 1990, putting Kropaczewski is some pretty rare company.
“It’s special,” Kropaczewski said.
Kropaczewski said he came into the season telling his teammates they needed to put Jordan on the map. While the Red Jackets did make the state playoffs once again, the team fell short of its ultimate goal after losing in the first round to Rockmart.
Going into his senior season, Kropaczewski wants to take the next step as a player and with the overall team. In doing so, it might garner more eyes on the Red Jackets program.
“Nobody in Columbus gives Jordan any respect,” Kropaczewski said. “We talk about it all the time, to be a different Jordan than we usually are. People expect us to go the first round and out. We want to go to the next round and prove them wrong.”
Kropaczewski said his focus is to improve on his fielding — he plays third base when he’s not pitching — for his senior season. Along with summer baseball, he has an upcoming camp in Albany. He’s drawn interest from Point, where two of his Jordan teammates signed, and hopes to put in the work to play collegiately.
Kropaczewski said he’s prepared to get Jordan’s newcomers ready for the 2018 campaign. Kropaczewski made real strides in his play as a junior, and if he has any say in it, those will carry over to more wins and attention for the Red Jackets next time around.
“It’s real exciting,” Kropaczewski said. “We’ve got more talent coming in, and we’re going to do things next year.
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports