For some, a second chance means an opportunity to learn from past mistakes. In the case of University of Tampa’s catcher Nick Tindall, a second chance means getting to play collegiate baseball.
In 2009, Tindall turned down college offers to sign with the Minnesota Twins in the fall, neglecting to further his education.
If he could do it all over again he wouldn’t do it any differently. Tindall followed his heart to pursue professional baseball and what followed was a career path he never envisioned. It all began when the Twins organization made the decision to draft Tindall in the 17th round at the 2009 Major League Baseball (MLB) draft.
The 6-foot-4 catcher made 29 appearances in two seasons of rookie league play before getting cut from the team.
He had a rocky start, hitting only .172 in his first two seasons and suffering a hamstring injury in 2010. This injury sidelined Tindall for more than two months, ultimately resulting in the Twins decision to release him.
Eventually Tindall got the chance to take the college route. Due to an allowance in the NCAA rules of playing only at the rookie league level for no more than two years, he was allowed to pursue college baseball, ending up here at UT.
Now in the final stretch of his senior year at UT, Tindall’s focus isn’t on professional ball, but rather leading his team to yet another regional birth.
“I need to stay positive and continue to be a leader for my teammates. My focus needs to remain on getting better offensively and continuing to lead our pitching staff,” Tindall said.
UT is currently nationally ranked No. 8 with an overall record of 27-11 and 9-6 in the Sunshine State Conference (SSC). The Spartans dropped a 5-3 contest last Friday night at home to Lynn, putting their post-season spot in jeopardy.
“We had some very tough losses against Nova, but we still have a chance to get to our ultimate goal. We have an opportunity to make regionals and get to the World Series, but our focus right now is on Lynn University and taking care of business,” he said.
Tindall single handedly took care of business in Saturday’s doubleheader sweep over the Knights. After holding Lynn scoreless in the top of the tenth, Tindall stepped up to the plate as the first batter in the inning and blasted a walk-off home run directly over the left-centerfield fence. His teammate, senior shortstop Giovanny Alfonzo said, “It was awesome. That was a must win game and he stepped up big time with the walk-off.”
UT had to secure both wins on Saturday in order to get an automatic bid for regionals, and they got the job done.. As a seasoned team leader, Tindall is able to provide direction when his team needs it.
“He’s a great teammate. He goes about his business like a professional so he’s one of the guys everyone looks up to. He’s a captain and works extremely hard for us each and every game,” Alfonzo said.
In the second game of the day, Lynn came out swinging, taking an early 4-0 lead. The fifth inning was quiet for the Knights offensively, allowing the Spartans to spark a rally that would result in three runs on two hits and a walk. Tindall homered in the inning to tie that game at five, giving UT the momentum to seal the win at home and in the process sweeping Saturday play.
Candace Martino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org