Rider alumnus Mike Petrowski signed with the Newark Bears on June 19.
The 6'5" right-handed pitcher, who has lived in the area since he was seven, says he developed his love of the sport from his days playing T-ball.
"I played all kinds of sports," said Petrowski. "But spring was always the best."
Petrowski attributes his competitive nature to growing up alongside his brother.
"Me and my brother growing up, we were pretty competitive kids, so I like to be good at everything," said Petrowski.
When not taking the 45-minute train ride up to Riverfront Stadium, Petrowski likes to stay active going bowling, swinging a golf club or playing pool on his table at home.
"I like to be home a lot, but when I do [something], I want to be good at it."
It was his desire to stay close to home, along with Rider Head Coach Barry Davis' track record and a hankering to rebuild the baseball program that led him to play for Rider University.
In his junior year, Petrowski was credited with saving Rider's game in the MAAC Conference championship, according to a quote from Head Coach Barry Davis on Rider University's website.
Petrowski was the starting pitcher of every game during the 2008 MAAC series in which Rider would take home the title.
In the same year, he led the team in strikeouts and innings pitched, and in 2007, was awarded the Bob Koehler Award for Most Valuable Pitcher, according to Rider's website.
In 2009, he graduated from Rider University with a degree in Radio and Television. Petrowski says Dr. Barry Janes was his favorite professor.
"You never knew what was going to happen," said Petrowski.
Taking things day by day and step by step seems to be a mantra for Petrowski.
He coaches for Hamilton High West in Hamilton Twp. and tries to instill the ideology to "try to just stay in the moment" in his players.
"It easy when you're younger to just look ahead to the next game or next inning or the next batter," said Petrowski. "I just try to tell them to take it pitch by pitch, stay in that moment, and hopefully, things will take care of themselves."
Petrowski played for the New Jersey Jackals before he was traded to the Newark Bears last year.
Although he enjoys coaching, Petrowski still aspires to play in the majors.
"Everyone's ultimate goal is to get picked up by an A team," said Petrowski. "Hopefully, we'll see..."
Next up, Petrowski and the Newark Bears take on the New Jersey Jackals at home. For more information or links to the Newark Bears' schedule, please visit: http://brickcitybears.com/?page_id=49.