For The Tribune
Once Tyler Bloom joined the varsity baseball team at Seymour High School, he knew he wanted to play at the next level.
On Thursday, Bloom saw that goal become a reality when he signed to play at Indiana University Kokomo.
He said the baseball field was one of the main factors he chose Kokomo.
“When I took my visit there, the first thing we looked at was the campus,” Bloom said. “We walked around and looked at all the school buildings. Their campus is tremendous. It’s just beautiful looking, and once you get in the people are so nice, and no one there seemed like they were better than you, and it’s a small school so everyone there was close knit.
“Then we went to the baseball field and once I stepped foot on the baseball field that kind of sealed my decision. It’s an all-turf field, it holds 4,000 people. It’s a field (Division I) players would dream to play at because not all D I programs have a stadium as nice as this one. When I saw that I knew that was the place I wanted to play at.”
Bloom said he is going there just to pitch at Kokomo.
“I throw a fastball, a curveball and a changeup,” Bloom said. “My curveball is probably my best pitch. Lately I’ve been working hard on focusing control on the fastball. That’s where I struggle the most, at the beginning of counts, trying to throw the fastball.”
Owls coach Jeremy Richey said that Bloom will have opportunities on the new team.
“I think he’s going to go up there and compete,” he said. “As a senior leaving high school going into college baseball that’s the best you can ask for. If you’ve got an opportunity to go up there and compete to play that’s a great situation and I think that’s what we found with Tyler.
“There’s no guarantees, but I think he definitely has an opportunity to go up there and compete for innings as a freshman.”
The assistant coach of the Kokomo team came to Seymour earlier this spring to see Bloom and Luis Munoz do some baseball drills.
“Through conversations I had with their coaching staff we set up a date,” Richey said. “Obviously, with Tyler with basketball we had to be pretty strategic with that because he hadn’t thrown much. So we had to get two or three outings for him before they came down.
“Their assistant came down that night to watch Tyler and they were happy with what they saw. Shortly after that I heard from the head coach saying “we love both of them and we want both of them to come up here.”
Munoz signed earlier this spring to play baseball at Kokomo.
Bloom made four starts on the mound his sophomore year, then moved into the regular rotation last spring.
“Last year he was so good, the tandem of him and Sammy (Satoshi Hirose),” Richey said. “He didn’t get as many starts as we expected him to get. Sammie was really good for four or five innings and Tyler was just a different look.
“His curveball is a different looking curveball, so we kind of used him a lot more in that role. He really thrived in it, but this year he’s obviously going to start for us. His role last year was based on ‘can we get a start out of him, but if we needed him to close out a game that’s what we did. Based on how much he had to throw that game determined when he pitched again.”
Bloom said he has enjoyed his baseball at Seymour.
“I just like how everybody here on the team is a big family,” he said. “There is never a day you go into the locker room and you have to worry about two people on the team fighting.
Every day that I go in there everybody’s always smiling, everybody says ‘hey’ when you walk in, no one turns their back to you. If you ever need help you know everybody on the team is there for you.”
Bloom batted fifth in the order in the opening game.
“I like hitting fifth just because I know the guys in front of me, most of the time they can get on and if they get on base I’m confident enough that I can hit them in,” Bloom said.
Defensively, Bloom will also play second base this spring.
“Last year I played third and I wasn’t very confident over there,” Bloom said. “I just felt that I’d be better moving to second base and I told Coach Richey and he thought that too, so I moved over there when Sammy started (pitching) and I felt I looked good over there.”
Richey said Bloom was a solid batter last spring, as he carried an average of .312.
For as long as he can remember, Bloom has pitched.
“The thing I like most, if you’re the pitcher it’s you versus the batter and it just shows who’s better,” Bloom said. “It’s always competition. It’s a team game, but if you’re the pitcher it’s also an individual game because you always want to strike them out or get a ground ball or a pop fly. If you can do that you can prove you’re better than the other team.”