Q&A with Indiana commit Steven Skolarz

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Director – Wisconsin/Illinois

When Steven Skolarz (Lincoln-Way West, 2015) took the mound at Indiana University for the MidwSteven Skolarzest Future Games, he had no idea that he would eventually call that mound home. Three months later, after being heavily recruited by multiple Division 1 programs, Skolarz made his verbal commitment to the Hoosiers.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Skolarz: I was surprised and humbled by the amount of interest that the schools had in myself. Actually I found it quite easy. I was very clear on what I was looking for in a university and baseball program. I was fortunate to play my sophomore year with the Top Tier 17U Americans which was built with some amazing talent. Many of the players shared with me their experiences which helped me understand the process. They also gave me some great insight which helped me understand my wants and needs.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Skolarz: I’ve had a steady stream of interest, but I would have to say the recruiting process sped up after the Midwest Future Games and then the Perfect Game Kernel’s Tourney.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career?

Skolarz: I was looking for a highly respected university to further my education. A strong and selective winning program. Solid coaching staff that has an interest in developing players to be the very best that they can be and take them to the next level.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Skolarz: Not at all, my parents were extremely supportive. My parents made it clear that they would always be there for me no matter where I went and to always follow my heart.

PBR: Where did Indiana University first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Skolarz: I was fortunate to be selected to play in the Midwest Future Games and represent Team Illinois which was held at Indiana University. The moment I stepped on the field I knew that Indiana University was special. After the games Coach Tracy Smith selected me to tour the facility and to meet and speak with him. At that time I recognized what a quality coach he was which peaked my interest to know more.

PBR: What do you like most about Indiana University and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Skolarz: I could make a list of the many achievements and great opportunities Indiana University would offer, such as an amazing education or their excellent coaching staff led by Coach Smith. The state of the art facility and the strong core values with a dedication to excellence and the ability to play with the best talent in the country all played a part in my decision. There is something really special about this organization that I want to be a part of. But when all that is said and done, it just felt right, it felt like home to me!

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Skolarz: I was very fortunate to have a large pool of interest, but my short list consisted of the University of Michigan, University of Iowa, Stanford, Vanderbilt, the Air Force Academy, University of Kentucky, Ole Miss and Ohio University to name a few.

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

Skolarz: I have always been very serious about my baseball career, but it all unfolded for me my freshman year of high school when I advanced to the varsity squad. Coach Zajc gave me the nod to be the pitcher for one of the biggest games of my life, the JCA sectional game. That confirmed what I already knew, that I was a strong competitor and that I had the desire to move farther and face greater challenges.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Skolarz: I have played against some very talented players from Illinois.  If I have to select one it would probably be Nick Dalesandro. He has been a player I have faced many times. I was fortunate enough to pitch in the sectionals against JCA my freshman year and I am happy to say that Lincoln Way West won that battle. I have been a teammate as well as an opponent of his since I was 11 years old and I have a feeling this competition will continue!

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Skolarz: I’m lucky to say I have a couple, but the most recent would have to be my performance at the Kernels Tournament in Iowa. I was selected as a pitcher for the All-Tournament Team for the WWBA Kernel’s Tournament. I pitched a complete game, one hit, no walks and 15 K”s, just short of a perfect game, it sure was fun! My whole goal was for my team to get the win and move on.

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?   

Skolarz: Lincoln-Way has some really good talent. I believe our pitching staff is deep and we have some strong bats. We will be very competitive this spring. Coach Zajc definitely has a lot of talent to work with this year to produce a successful season. Our goal is to win Championships!

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Skolarz: Be a good student, work hard and always follow your dreams to start. Believe in yourself! Be very selective on the organization you play for, great coaching, training and the right exposure is everything. One of the best decisions I have made was to play for the Top Tier Baseball organization. Coach Fine, Coach Kenny and all the Top Tier coaching staff are by far the very best! They truly care about the players and will set forth a plan to assist you for success. They surround the players with opportunities.

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