You could not have scripted a better opening act to Tyler Sepinski’s college baseball career.
After surviving a stressful tryout in the fall, Sepinski, a 2020 graduate of Dobbs Ferry High School, was informed that he had made the Curry College baseball team. As a freshman, he would be a backup infielder.
In Curry’s seventh game of the season, on March 31 at Salve Regina in Newport, R.I., Sepinski found his name written on the lineup card, hitting ninth and playing second base. In his first trip to the plate as a collegian, Sepinski took the initial three pitches from Salve Regina pitcher Walker Sharp and fell behind in the count one ball and two strikes.
Sharp tried to sneak a change-up past Sepinski to finish him off, but the former Eagle turned on the offering and blasted a long home run over the left-field fence.
“It was like I was dreaming when I hit it — I knew it was gone off the bat,” Sepinski said. “The pitcher hung a change-up high and inside. It landed in the parking lot behind the bullpen in left field. The team went crazy when I hit it.”
The home run gave Curry a 1-0 lead in a game the Colonels would lose, 7-3. Sepinski also hit a single, which added up to a 2-for-3 debut.
A mainstay on the Dobbs Ferry baseball team since his freshman season, Sepinski gained experience playing around the infield. In his junior year at Dobbs Ferry, he showed a great glove at shortstop and exhibited more pop in his bat. He was looking forward to ending his high school career on a high note when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, shutting down all scholastic sports last spring.
“The cancellation of last year’s spring season affected me mentally, you know, because I was looking forward to playing with my teammates and playing my last game at Gould Park,” Sepinski said. “As far as other players, the cancellation took away the chance at colleges looking at them play.”
Through the disappointment, Sepinski maintained his focus, his goal to play in college.
“Over the past year, I have been going to the gym and hitting almost every day,” Sepinski said. “I have also started to watch what I eat more closely.”
The result is evident: he now packs 186 pounds onto his 5-foot-8 frame but has not lost any of his athleticism.
When he arrived late in the summer at Curry’s Milton, Mass., campus, he was ready for baseball.
“There were around 37 players at the start in the fall [for tryouts],” Sepinski recalled. “Now there are 33 players. Tryouts were the first two weeks of the four-week fall season. I tried out for shortstop and second base.”
There is not much margin for error in such a tryout.
“The first two days were just like a showcase, we showcased our arms, legs and bats,” Sepinski said. “It started to get nerve-racking as we started to play live inner-squad games, because that is where you feel and see the difference in level of play from high school to college.”
He added, “The biggest difference I have noticed from high school to college is the overall speed of the game. Balls are getting hit faster at you, thrown harder at you, and the base-runners are faster.”
Sepinski survived the cut.
“I think that it was because of how I preformed and that I am a coachable player,” he reflected.
So far, though, he feels he has handled the transition from high school ball to college play smoothly.
“It feels great to have attained this goal of mine, but now I have to continue to work hard,” he noted.
Curry plays in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. This season, the Colonels are in Pool A with Salve Regina, Roger Williams, Nichols, and Western New England.
The Pool B league includes Endicott, Gordon, Suffolk, and Wentworth.