LIMA — Tyler Grogg remembers the Lima Locos.
It was just two summers ago that Grogg was lining base hits and stealing bases for the Southern Ohio Copperheads, who lost to the Locos in the Great Lakes Collegiate League championship series.
Two years later, the University of Toledo outfielder is playing for the Locos.
“The fans get crazy here,” Grogg said. “It was a nice atmosphere when I played here the last time. I feel the fans pretty much won the game for Lima that day.”
Grogg was referring to the Locos’ 9-2 win over Southern Ohio in Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series in 2011.
Game 2 moved to Athens and the Locos pulled out a 2-1 win to win the GLCL championship series 2-0. The game started late when there was a long rain delay.
“I remember you guys (the Locos) had to help us with the tarp,” he said with a laugh. “That was a good game.”
The Locos’ staff remembers Grogg as well. He led the GLCL in hitting with a .379 average and was second in stolen bases with 17. He was named to the all-GLCL team.
Last summer he hit .402 for Owensboro (Ky.) in the Ohio Valley League.
After he heard the Locos were interested in his services he was happy to return to the GLCL this summer.
“I wanted to stay close to home this summer,” Grogg said. “And I liked the Great Lakes League. The competition was good. … It should be a good summer.”
Grogg grew up in suburban Toledo and attended Holland Springfield High School.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Grogg played baseball and was a wide receiver/cornerback in football.
He went to Toledo to play baseball and was red-shirted his freshman year. Grogg played for Southern Ohio after his red-shirt freshman year.
This year as a junior with the Rockets, Grogg batted .355 with seven doubles and one home run. He had 20 RBIs. Grogg was 36 of 40 on stolen bases.
He led the MAC in stolen bases and finished second in the MAC in hitting to former Locos infielder Kent State’s George Roberts (.358). Grogg also led the MAC in runs scored with 62.
Locos coach Chad Ehrnsberger plans to have Grogg lead off and play left field, his position at Toledo.
Locos’ fans should look for Grogg to run early and often, as he goes for another stolen base crown.
“I just go,” he said. “I’m super aggressive. I go a lot.”
Grogg is hoping his speed can get him drafted or signed so he has a chance in pro ball. To that end, the right-handed hitter continues to work on his bunting game.
“My coach wanted me to work on push bunting,” Grogg said. “I’m good at drag bunting, but he wants me to work on push bunts. The third baseman will start playing in really far and will take the drag from me.”
Grogg said his general philosophy of getting on base is to “bunt at least once a game. … If I’m in a slump, I can drop a drag bunt and it’ll get my confidence back up.”
Once he’s on base, everyone in the park knows what Grogg will do.
The Locos are just glad he’s running for them this season instead of against them.