Tisevich making impact for River Bandits

Woodstock River Bandit's Jacob Tisevich steps up to bat Monday night against the Winchester Royals. Tisevich is hitting .386 for the River Bandits this season. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – Jacob Tisevich had a tough decision to make when he was in high school.

The current Woodstock River Bandit is from Canton, Ohio, home of the National Football League Hall of Fame. Tisevich had to choose between playing football and baseball.

He chose to play football at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania.

“I got to play in one of the biggest high school rivalries for football,” Tisevich said of his decision to play football in college. “Everything was pretty much pointing toward football back then, because it’s just where you’re from – pro football hall of fame is just right down the road.”

Tisevich said that there were 21,000 fans at one of his high school games between McKinley and Massillon high schools. Tisevich played for Massillon.

Woodstock River Bandit's Jacob Tisevich runs into left field as another inning starts during Monday's game with Winchester in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

He suffered an injury at Saint Francis, which made him rethink his decision to play football.

“At Saint Francis I got hurt and missed baseball too much,” Tisevich said. “I made the switch and haven’t looked back since.”

Tisevich transferred to Ohio Dominican University, located in Columbus Ohio, and played there for 1 1/2 years, before transferring this year to the University of Southern Arkansas.

He said he didn’t have any big plans for this summer, and then a phone call came that changed everything. The call was from Woodstock River Bandits assistant coach Ryan Nordquist a few weeks before the season started to see if Tisevich would be interesting in play for the Valley Baseball League team this summer.

“He was my coach from back home in Ohio. He coached me four or five summers ago,” Tisevich said of Nordquist. “If I didn’t find this I was just going to train every day and try to get better and bigger. …It’s been going well. I wish we could have pulled out some of those wins, but other than that I really like it here. I have a great host family, great teammates. I’m having a lot of fun playing ball.”

Woodstock River Bandit Jacob Tisevich throws a ball from his left field position during Monday night's game against Winchester. Rich Cooley/Daily

Tisevich is making a big impact on the River Bandits. He is batting .386 (22 for 57) third in the league and leads the league with 22 hits and 16 runs. He also has three home runs, 11 RBI’s and nine stolen bases.

This week Tisevich was named the Signs USA Valley Baseball League Player of the Week for his play last week. Tisevich hit .545 (12 for 22) during the week. He had two homers, two triples, nine RBIs, seven runs scored and five stolen bases.

“I just went out there trying to hit the ball hard, trying to help the team win and just trying to compete every pitch,” Tisevich said of his big week. “I just got some balls to fall, found some holes — that’s lucky but I had to square the ball up for it.”

One of the most impressive stats from Tisevich’s week last week was he had seven consecutive multi-hit games. He said he didn’t realize he had done it until after the streak was over, and is not sure if he’s ever done that before in his career.

Tisevich said that while he learned some things at Ohio Dominican, he just wasn’t happy there. So this past year he became a Mulerider, the nickname for Southern Arkansas.

The Muleriders have been a solid Division II baseball school for a number of years. Tisevich said that despite the 15-hour drive from his hometown he’s happy he made the move.

“I just wanted better baseball, better weather, better training, and that’s how I ended up in Southern Arkansas and I love it,” Tisevich said. “I didn’t know much of what I was getting into. I knew there was good coaching down there. I made the transfer. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know anybody, but I loved it. I just took it in stride day-by-day, and it panned out for me pretty well.”

Tisevich hit .302 (55 for 182) for the Muleriders last season. He had five homers, 31 RBIs, 31 runs scored and 11 stolen bases in 47 games.

Tisevich said he comes from a baseball/softball family and his older sister played softball at Ohio University. He said he used to go to her games when he was younger, and that helped get him started in the game.

He said he loves the competitiveness of baseball.

“You can be at the top of your game and do everything right and still get out,” Tisevich said. “It’s frustrating at times, don’t get me wrong, but I like the frustration.”

Tisevich said that he wants to improve on a little bit of everything this summer playing for the River Bandits.

Woodstock (5-10) has struggled some early this season, but Tisevich said he’s confident that they can turn things around.

“We just need to play a complete ball game,” Tisevich said. “There always seems like there’s one inning where we fall apart a little bit, defensively, pitching, offensively, whatever it may be. If we can just clean up that one inning, I think we can be scary good.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com