York County is becoming a breeding ground for producing NCAA Division I baseball pitchers.
The latest local hurler headed to a big-time college program is C.J. Czerwinski, who will be a senior at Red Lion High School this fall.
The 5-foot, 11-inch, 175-pound right-hander gave a verbal commitment to the College of Charleston in South Carolina on Monday.
He follows in the footsteps of his Red Lion teammate, Tyler Burchett, who is headed to the University of Kentucky following a standout senior season with the Lions in 2018.
The two Lions, however, are far from the only area pitchers to attract interest from major schools.
Another 2018 graduate, Dallastown’s Nick Parker, is committed to Coastal Carolina.
Some other local pitchers on D-I rosters include Eastern York’s Brandon Knarr at Notre Dame, Spring Grove’s Matt Brooks at Charlotte, Northeastern’s Kody Reeser at Towson and York Catholic’s Brenden Kennedy at Mount St. Mary’s.
Strong junior season: Czerwinski helped the Lions reach the District 3 Class 6-A championship game this past season as a junior, compiling a 2.56 ERA over 38 1/3 innings, according to Red Lion’s GameChanger website. He struck out 51, while allowing 32 hits and 18 walks.
Those numbers were seriously skewed by one poor outing (two-thirds of an inning, seven earned runs) in a PIAA playoff game vs. a powerhouse La Salle College team featuring seven NCAA D-I recruits.
Increase in velocity: Czerwinski, who considers his curve ball his best pitch, said his recruitment picked up significantly in recent months when his fastball velocity started hitting the 90-mph range.
An excellent student, Czerwinski chose Charleston over James Madison, Campbell, Morehead State, Columbia and Yale.
“It just felt right,” Czerwinski said about Charleston. “The city is beautiful, the baseball is great, the weather is warm and the coaching staff was amazing. … It’s always been a dream of mine to go down south (to play college baseball).”
Charleston finished 36-19 in 2018, including a 15-8 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association under head coach Chad Holbrook. The Cougars have made the NCAA Division I playoffs seven times since 2004.
Inspired by success of father's teams at West York: Czerwinski said his interest in baseball started when he was a youngster watching his father, Roger, coach West York High School to a pair of state championships.
“He’s really kept me driven,” Czerwinski said of his father, who is now the athletic director at Manheim Township High School in Lancaster County. “When he won those two state championships, I was with him. I thought ‘wow,’ I really want to be a part of this. That’s what really got me into baseball.”
Academics and athletics: For his part, Roger Czerwinski is most pleased that his son based his college decision on academics and athletics.
“I'm very happy that his focus was not solely on baseball,” Roger Czerwinski said. “He chose a school that will allow him to study what he wants: astrophysics. We are very proud. He has worked very hard in the classroom and on the field to have this opportunity. The coaching staff at C of C is first class.”
C.J. Czerwinski trains with former York Revolution player Jason Aspito at Backyard University in Red Lion and plays club ball with US Elite Baseball. He also plans to play soccer this fall for the Lions.
Reach Steve Heiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.