Growing up playing Little League baseball Jay Wladkowski found himself playing just about every position on the diamond at one point or another, but it was mainly the infield where he saw his greatest action. However, by the time he got to high school, he found himself on the freshman team suiting up as the team’s catcher. When he earned a spot on the varsity team during his sophomore campaign, Wladkowski was back playing shortstop.
“As a sophomore trying out for the varsity team, I was very nervous at first, but eventually after a few practices things were not as bad,” the Norwood athlete said. “The freshman practices compared to the varsity practices where like night and day. Freshmen practices were basically just baseball, while the varsity practices involved more technical aspects of the game; like hitting and running plays.”
Following his first year on the varsity team, Coach Kevin Igoe decided to move Wladkowski to the outfield, primarily right field, where he felt that he could help the team in a positive way, and that is where he has played his final two seasons with the Mustangs.
“At 6-1 and 190 pounds, Wladkowski can cover a lot of ground in the outfield and has a Dwight Evans arm,” the Norwood skipper said. “He has speed, power and a great baseball instinct; everything you want in a ball player. He’s a five-tool player that leads the team in every offensive category.”
Growing up playing baseball, Wladkowski seemed to stand out compared to his friends when playing on the diamond. He felt it was a noticeable difference but something that you really don’t think about at the time. It wasn’t until he continuously heard people talking about his abilities that he realized he had something special. At 11 years old, however, he wasn’t thinking far ahead into his baseball future.
Soon after, he decided to hook up with the Northeast Gators, an AAU baseball team out of Walpole, where he learned to craft his game.
As Wladkowski and his Norwood teammates battle into the final days of the regular 2019 season, the senior was hoping that the Mustangs could forge ahead and earn themselves a spot in the state tournament, but things didn’t work out that way. Norwood finished the year at 9-11 and missed the post-season.
Now that the season is officially over, Wladkowski is going to have surgery on his elbow. Prior to getting hurt, the University of Rhode Island was very much interested in the Norwood athlete, and while they still are hoping to see him on their roster in the future, he is going to take his game to the Kent School in Connecticut first.
“I had torn my ACL during football season and didn’t really know it until we had an MRI done,” Wladkowski said. “I was told that I would need surgery, but being my senior year I wanted to hold off until after the baseball season. As long as I didn’t pitch, I could continue to play high school baseball. Surgery is scheduled for June 23rd.”
Once the surgery is complete, he’ll go thought about nine months of rehab before he can get back onto the field. Unfortunately, that means no legion baseball this summer for the Norwood native.
“I should be rehabbing for about nine months which will take me right to March of next year, just as the team begins heading to Florida to get ready for the season,” Wladkowski said. “I’m hoping that with no setback I should be ready for the beginning of the season in April.”
Following attendance at the Kent School, Wladkowksi is still hoping to play Division 1 baseball on the collegiate level.
“My goal is to get back and eventually play for a Division 1 college,” Wladkowski said. “At this point, I have no idea where, but URI did say they would still be interested in talking to me again as a pitcher; we’ll just have to wait and see.”
As for Wladkowski, that is the approach he will be taking over the next nine months as he goes through the surgery and begins the climb to get back onto the field in hopes of accomplishing his ultimate goal – playing for a Division 1 collegiate team.