PREP BASEBALL

Joyce honored to be Hebron's second baseball all-star

2013-07-10T17:00:00Z 2013-07-11T09:44:03Z Joyce honored to be Hebron's second baseball all-starJim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com
July 10, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

The North All-Star roster features 11 players going to Division I schools, headlined by Ohio State-bound Mr. Baseball Tanner Tully.

On the flip side, there's Kyle Joyce, whose college plans are still up in the air.

The Hebron graduate heads to Wabash College for this weekend's three-game series with the South aiming not only to show he fits in with the array of top talent, but possibly to find a future home.

"I'm completely open-minded to anything like that," said Joyce, who has spoken to Purdue North Central but is unsigned. "I'm going to go in there and play as hard as I can. If someone notices, so much the better. A lot of people probably think (players from smaller schools) can't hang with the bigger school kids. I want to go in and show that we can."

Joyce will be joined by fellow Porter County Conference product Dean Hill, who is bound for IU-Kokomo to play basketball.

"I'm not so much surprised as I'm pumped," Joyce said. "I'm honored to be chosen. I played with a lot of those guys. I played with (Crown Point's Zach) Plesac and (Chesterton's Mike) Crowley when we were 12. I played against a lot of them, too. I know I can play with those guys."

The selection marks just the second time a Hebron player has been picked for the game. The other was Jeff Brooks in 1991.

"To be mentioned in the same breath as a quality guy like Jeff, it says a lot about our program and Kyle as a person," Hebron coach John Steinhilber said. "It's a tremendous compliment to our staff and the players we have here. Kyle's not just going to be representing himself and his family. He's going to be representing a bunch of guys who have that dream. It's a really big deal for our program."

Steinhilber, who has also coached a basketball all-star (Jake Kitchell at South Central), took over at Hebron when Joyce was a sophomore. Joyce started as a freshman, was on the mound for the sectional championship the following season, played a key role in the Hawks' run to the semistate in 2012 and guided a young team to a winning record this spring.

"Kyle was a veteran from day one, batting three or four, doing leadership things," Steinhilber said. "He got better every day and continued to step up in situations. Things he did on the field, other guys would watch and pick up, and it helped in their game. He was so much a part of that (2012) group. We missed those guys who graduated and he and Jon (Moneta) are the final chapter."

Joyce takes great pride in the turnaround that transpired at Hebron during his year as a Hawk.

"The four years flew by. It felt like yesterday I was out there as a freshman," he said. "I've seen it come a long way. I remember back in middle school, having two-win seasons, then we made it to semistate. My freshman year, we probably averaged six, seven errors a game. We worked a lot on our defense. Our confidence came a long way. It feels good to know we started the program back and it should stay up. The middle school players, there are a lot of talented kids."

Primarily a pitcher-infielder this season, Joyce was picked as an outfielder for the all-star team. Not that it matters. He would've played anywhere.

"I'm more comfortable in the outfield," he said. "I've played there all my life."

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