Striking baseball gold: Ex-Negaunee star Tyler Jandron leads Northwood to national tourney

Negaunee native Tyler Jandron pitches during a Northwood game during the regular season this spring. Jandron led the Timberwolves to their best baseball season ever after transferring from Wisconsin-Parkside. (Photo courtesy Northwood University)

“They’re great achievements, but it’s about the team because we had an unreal year.” — Tyler Jandron, Northwood baseball pitcher, on his personal statistics

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NEGAUNEE — Miners have to work tirelessly and a certain former Negaunee Miners pitcher is doing the same at the collegiate level.

But Tyler Jandron isn’t striking rocks to find valuable iron ore. He’s been striking out batters in rapid fashion.

Jandron helped lead Northwood to GLIAC regular season and tournament championships as well as a trip to the NCAA Division II National Tournament Midwest regional final. The Timberwolves also set a school record for victories with their 46-13 record.

Jandron led the conference with 10 wins, a 2.61 earned-run average and 80 strikeouts. By the end of the postseason, he had a record of 12-1 with a 2.37 ERA and 102 K’s.

As a result, Jandron was named GLIAC Pitcher of the Year and Midwest Pitcher of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. If that wasn’t enough, Jandron has also been named a finalist for the Brett Tomko Division II Pitcher of the Year award.

Yet if you asked him about the multitude of awards he’s received, Jandron shrugs them off and focuses on what the team accomplished.

“Honestly, I’m not really into accolades,” he said. “Obviously, it’s nice to get them and I’ll look back at them when I get older. They’re great achievements, but it’s about the team because we had an unreal year.

“I’m sure I’ll look back fondly when I get older, but I don’t need awards to show who I am as a person. They’re amazing to have, but it’s not the end goal.”

Jandron was a star multisport athlete in Negaunee and was recognized more so for his basketball skills than baseball. However, he decided to play both in college at Wisconsin-Parkside before ultimately deciding that baseball was the one he needed to stick with.

“Basketball was my first love and that’s really what I was known for,” Jandron said. “Transferring to Northwood gave me an option to just focus on baseball when I realized that basketball wasn’t really my calling.

“By choosing baseball, it helped give me a chance to actually play and I wasn’t going to get that from basketball.”

Now that he’s devoted himself to being a star hurler, Jandron has developed a fearsome combination of four pitches that can lock up hitters and help him pound the zone. He also constantly pushes himself to become even better, which is quite a feat considering what he accomplished this season.

“I try to go into the offseason and make myself better each year whether it be getting stronger or watching more baseball to expand my game,” Jandron said. “I’m never satisfied with what I have.”

What he is satisfied with is how Northwood defied all expectations this year and achieved success that was unheard of for the program. Jandron said a lot of that is just enjoying the sport.

“We just go in and have fun every game,” he said. “We’re very loose and we don’t put pressure on ourselves. I think that helped us be so successful. I wasn’t here last year, but they were only 25-24 or something, so I definitely think we did a lot. We were supposed to be fifth in the conference and we came out winning it. I think we showed that we’re not just Northwood and that we can play baseball, too.”

Like many other ball players, Jandron wants to continue his playing career after his senior season in 2018. Right now, though, he likes being an example for other athletes in the Upper Peninsula to look to when they hope to achieve their dreams.

“I think it shows other schools that there are kids up here that can play ball,” he said. “It’s hard for athletes up here to play at the next level because we kind of get overlooked. There’s guys who can play well who have a hard time proving themselves. It kind of makes me push myself, so I can help show kids that they can make it.”

With the amount of success he’s achieved and the impact he’s had on a program, Jandron has definitely shown future Miners that they can strike gold too.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.