Oak Grove’s Turner Swistak decided to take a different route for his baseball career. The former Southeastern signee will instead be suiting up with Pearl River Community College.
“This summer, I committed to Southeastern, and at that point, I knew I wanted to be signed by the early signing period for my senior season,” Swistak said. “I felt like it was a stress that I didn’t deserve to put on myself for my senior year. I want to have that locked down to where I was going. At the moment in time, Southeastern was where my heart was, and I was 100 percent on it.”
However, in the offseason between his junior and senior year, Swistak velocity made a significant jump and tops out at 94 miles per hour, which drew attention from professional scouts.
“The season comes around and (my arm) made a velocity jump,” Swistak said. “I started getting a little professional attention and after that obviously the season kind of hit a brick wall. I took multiple weeks after the break started, the thought popped in my head of ‘What if I took a shot with a junior college?’ or try to put myself in a better position whether it be with another D1 university. (I could) have one or two years of eligibility to look at the draft and really get myself into that kind of loop with professional teams. It’s always been a dream of mine, and I wanted to put myself in the best position to make that dream come true.”
As a junior college athlete, Swistak will be eligible for the next two years to be selected in the MLB draft. In his four year tenure, PRCC coach Michael Avalon’s, he had three players taken in the draft. Most recently, former Hattiesburg baseball player Dexter Jordan was chosen in the 16th round by the Houston Astros.
“He approached us about joining our program, and we were obviously very excited about and wanted him to a part of our program,” Avalon said. “I think that speaks a lot to our program if you look at the history of Pearl River and the type of players that have come through. I think people realize that this is a good opportunity and a good stepping stone for people in their baseball carreers.”
According to Swistak, he chose PRCC because he felt it was the best junior college program in Mississippi.
“I feel like Pearl River has one of the best if not the best program in Mississippi,” Swistak said. “After talking it over with their coaches, I feel like with the program they have there, the way they handle and run things, I think it’s a good spot for me. It’s the best program in the area that I felt like could put me in the best position to take the next step from there.”
In 18 innings pitched in his senior season, Swistak posted a .39 ERA and recorded 27 strikeouts. Avalon anticipates Swistak will compete for a starting pitching role in the team’s rotation.
“We are expecting him to come in and compete for one of the four starting positions,” Avalon said. “He has the capability to be a starter for us. That’s his goal, and that would be our expectation for him. He has a powerful fastball and is a big physical kid. He’s got good off-speed stuff. I think he would also tell you that if he wants to make the next big jump, he’s got to improve his off-speed a little bit. There is no doubt that he should be a force on the mound.
“We’re excited to add a guy of his ability and character to our program. He is a guy that we had followed throughout this career, and we’re happy he chose to continue his baseball career here at Pearl River.”