Soon-to-be Auburn roomies meet first at JUCO
Terrance Dedrick grinned and chuckled before he answered the question about whether he knew Damek Tomscha, the Iowa Western Community College slugger who has committed to Auburn University.
Dedrick, the fleet-footed, hard-hitting, hard-throwing outfielder and pitcher for Shelton State (Ala.) Community College, has also committed to play for the Tigers in the baseball-rich Southeastern Conference.
“Damek is actually going to be my roommate next year,” Dedrick said. “I chose him when I was down there on a visit one time. I talked with some of the coaches, and I asked them, ‘Who do they recommend for the juco transfers?’ And he was the guy they recommended.”
So, roomies it is. Or so they think. Next week could change that. Tomscha is one of the top junior-college prospects — he’s ranked No. 41 by Perfect Game USA — entering the June 4-6 Major League Baseball draft.
After Dedrick got Tomscha’s name, he said he called him, asked him if he wanted to live with him, and Tomscha said yes.
As fate would have it, Dedrick learned Iowa Western qualified for the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, as had his Buccaneers, so the two sent text messages back and forth leading up to their arrival in Grand Junction. Then, at Friday night’s JUCO banquet, they met for the first time.
“So, we’ve been keeping up with each other, and he’s a great guy, and we’re gonna have fun next year,” Dedrick said.
Dedrick is going to Auburn to be a two-way player, playing the outfield and pitching. Shelton State coach Bobby Sprowl considers him to be one of the best closers in the junior college ranks because of his power curveball.
Tomscha, who batted .446 during the regular season and led the Reivers in doubles (23), home runs (15), RBI (68) and walks (24), said he likely will play third base for the Tigers.
Again, that’s if he makes it to campus. He said if he’s drafted high enough, he’ll have a decision to make.
“I guess we’ll see next Tuesday (the second day of the draft),” he said Wednesday evening. “If anything’s going to happen, I guess it would be then.”
If he does make it to Auburn, he looks forward to playing in the SEC. The Tigers won the recruiting battle for Tomscha after he took visits to Oklahoma State, Florida International University and the University of Nebraska.
“The coaches seem to develop their players pretty well at Auburn,” Tomscha said. “And it’s a chance to go up against the best competition in the nation in the SEC.”
He also looks forward to warmer Alabama winters than the ones he’s accustomed to in his hometown of Sioux City, Iowa, and in Council Bluffs.
And he looks forward to being teammates with Dedrick and sharing a two-bedroom apartment.
“I think we have a lot of similarities in personalities and what we like to do,” Tomscha said.
Aside from their JUCO banquet encounter, the two have not run into each other at Suplizio Field.
“I haven’t seen him play yet,” Dedrick said. “If we do get to play each other, I’m looking forward to being able to play against my future teammate.”
A game between Shelton State and Iowa Western is possible, and it would be Saturday night with the championship on the line if it happened.