Baseball: Notre Dame’s Czachor scoops up interest out West
Notre Dame's Ryan Czachor (3) gets a grounder at shortstop against Carmel May 2, 2012 at in Niles. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2012 6:20PM
Although size doesn’t matter in baseball, Ryan Czachor understands that he might get even better if he’s bigger.
Czachor, a standout middle infielder for Notre Dame the last two years, would like to add at least 10 pounds to his athletic, 5-foot-9, 140-pound frame before playing for Phoenix College-Maricopa, a community college south of Phoenix, this fall.
“I’m trying to eat three big, home-cooked meals a day, and I’m drinking lots of protein shakes,” said Czachor. “I’m also working on my strength, but not the kind of muscle that would affect my throwing. I would actually like to gain a pound a day.”
The lefty-hitting Czachor batted .330 this spring and .300 as a junior. He played an outstanding shortstop the first half of this season before Keenan Connelly returned. and then seamlessly moved back to his previous position at second base. Czachor is also a skilled outfielder.
“It looks like I’ll be a regular utilityman in college,” Czachor said. “Kind of a Mark DeRosa. Play pretty much every day, but move around from position to position.”
An honor-roll student at Notre Dame, Czachor earned a partial academic scholarship at Phoenix College, which offers associate degrees.
Czachor will hone his game this summer by playing tournament ball for the Illinois Sparks from Orland Park and two teams based in Michigan. He begins school on Aug. 19. The baseball team gets right down to business.
“They play pretty much the whole year around, including daily practices and a lot of games in the fall. I liked that part of it, too,” said Czachor, who was coached growing up by his father, Bart.
“As soon as I could walk, I had a baseball bat or a hockey stick in my hand,” Czachor said. “But I stopped playing other sports to concentrate on baseball.”
Czachor pitched effectively but seldom for the Dons due to a football injury. He tore a tendon in his elbow on the gridiron as a freshman, prompting his mother to declare an end to his football career. The elbow often will flare up when he pitches.
When Nelson Gord took over as Notre Dame’s head coach this season, Czachor needed no introduction. While he played for his father on the Schaumburg Seminoles travel team, Gord was coaching another Seminoles squad. Gord, the owner of Play Ball USA, eventually hired Ryan Czachor to work for him at the baseball training facility.
“Coach Gord is so busy that I was wondering at first how I would be able to do everything. But he gave us all the time any coach possibly could,” said Czachor. “He knows so much about the game. We had this texting thing going as a team. You could ask him any question at any time, and he would always give you a great answer. I’m grateful to him for everything he’s done for me.”