Cermak & Redbirds Set Hopes High
Written by Tim Zalabak on April 15, 2022
NORMAL, Ill.- Illinois State University is making national headlines after an unprecedented week of offensive highlights from the Redbird Center fielder, Ryan Cermak. But this week of success is nothing new to the First-Team All-MVC star player.
After being named National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and Perfect Game USA, Cermak now looks to the next at-bat to help contribute to more Redbird Success.
“It’s still a game. I’m just trying to go up to the plate and hit the ball hard every time. Whatever they throw at me, I don’t care, I’m just trying to hit it hard.” Said Cermak.
Cermak has taken his new responsibilities in stride this year. Earning the lead-off spot in the lineup requires a different approach that the MVC Defensive Player of the Year has proven to be ready for after the 11-21 (.524) weekend.
“I started off in the three-hole this year. I would have the one and two hitters tell me how the pitcher’s stuff is moving, now I just try to do damage off the first pitch,” explained Cermak.
In the recent one-game series against Western Illinois University, Cermak hammered three home runs, two of which were grand slams, sparking a career-high weekend that would result in two more long balls for the third-year sophomore.
Baseball is said to be a mental sport. With all the hype around the Cermak name and expectations to produce daily, the center fielder looks to keep his game moving in the right direction.
“I can’t let the last at-bat dictate the next. If it’s a home run in my previous appearance, I can’t be thinking I’m on top of the world,” Said Cermak.
Ryan Cermak entered the Redbird baseball program as an infielder. Head Coach for the Birds’ Steve Holm noticed the athleticism and promise Cermak displayed and helped with the transition to the outfield. Cermak is now revered as one of the best defensive players in the MVC.
“I owe a lot of my success to him (Coach Steve Holm), he’s always had faith in me. He always knew I was going to be back out there playing even when he sat me down,” said Cermak.
Ryan Cermak spoke on his goals for the rest of the season.
“The goal is just to win games. It’s been on and off for us right now, but I think we are on the right path for conference play,” said Cermak.
Illinois State has proven they can handle any team in the nation. Beating the University of Arkansas in game one of this year’s campaign sends a message to every time that must pass through the Birds’.
“It just shows you what this team can really do. Its shows we can play against the “big dogs”. We just need to act like every game is against Arkansas, or Purdue, or Illinois,” said Cermak.
The Redbirds’ sights are set on a Missouri Valley Conference championship this year. With the offensive and defensive tools to compete with the rest of the nation, Ryan Cermak and his squad are more confident than ever.