John C. Longton III
Brennan Strovink has turned his back on quitting — literally.
In Strovink’s senior year in high school he found out that he had a fractured spine and a burst disk. The wear and tear of being a wrestler and playing baseball took its toll on his body. Brennan received surgery before the baseball season and improved enough to play in his final season.
Strovink had a successful senior year at Rocky Point High School and was named to the All New York State team. He committed to play baseball at Lamar College, a Division I school in Texas, and seemed as if he put his back injury behind him.
“Everything was going great until about two weeks before the season started,” said Strovink.
That’s when he started feeling a discomfort in his back.
“I started feeling back pain again and I told my coach and he sent me to the doctor,” he said.
It was then that Brennan found out that he re-fractured his spine and wouldn’t be able to play his first year at Lamar. He redshirted his freshman year and spent the spring resting his back with the thought of getting back on the diamond in his mind.
When he went back home to Long Island for the summer, Strovink went to see specialists. That’s he found out that his baseball career was in jeopardy.
“The two doctors told me that I would never play baseball ever again,” said Brennan.
Strovink’s future was in question and the news rocked his world. He withdrew from Lamar and attended a community college close to home. He had to go back to the drawing board and figure out what he wanted to do with his life. It wasn’t until a conversation he had with his grandfather that an idea popped into Brennan’s head that was just so crazy it might work.
Strovink’s grandfather is an avid golfer and knows that the mechanics of a golf swing and a baseball swing are very similar.
“My grandfather told me he read an article that this golfer swung the opposite way and his back felt better,” said Strovink.
The golfer had similar back issues that Brennan had and was able to change his approach in order to continue playing.
One day Strovink was playing catch with his younger brother when he decided to take his grandfather up on his advice.
“I’ve never hit right handed it my life. I think I might have played wiffle ball right handed once, but that was about it,” said Strovink.
To his surprise Brennan was able to swing the bat with no back pain.
“That was a huge deal because every time I swung the bat left handed I would be shaking,” said Strovink.
Brennan decided to give baseball another shot after his new discovery. He got back in the game this past October and started to make his journey up to Hudson Valley.
Head baseball coach Alex Jurcznyski knows Brennan’s brother, Kyle, through a scouting agency he used to work for. Kyle reached out to coach Jurczynski and let him know that Brennan wanted to give playing another shot.
“He’s only been a righty hitter for about six months, but he’s gonna be good,” said Jurczynski.
Jurczynski has been impressed with how fast Strovink has adapted to the other side of the plate and is excited to see how he progresses. He’s also helping Brennan with his plans after Hudson Valley.
“I came here to play for coach Juczynski,” said Strovink. “He’s done a lot to help me with hitting and a lot of stuff. He even talked to other colleges for me.”
Jurczynski helped Brennan in communicating with Limestone College, a Division II school down in South Carolina. Strovink was offered a scholarship and has committed himself to play for Limestone after completing this semester at Hudson Valley.
“I’m lucky to be here. I’m blessed. I swear to God I’m blessed,” said Strovink. “I went from six months ago thinking I’m never going to play baseball. And now I’m playing baseball for a great coach that helped me get a scholarship.”
“Tough times don’t last, but tough people do” Strovink said he believes.