Name: Tyler Woodcock
School: New Palestine
Jersey number: No. 5
Nominated by: Dragons coach Shawn Lyons
Coach’s take: Coaches love when their players take on the challenges placed before them with no complaints or excuses. Lyons is no exception.
“What’s impressive about Tyler is he made only three errors at second base last year. He was our best infielder,” Lyons said. “So this year, he moved over to play shortstop even though he wasn’t as comfortable there. But he didn’t say a word, he just did it because it was in the best interest of the team. That meant a lot to me. Sure, he struggled there at times, but that was my call moving him, and his willingness to play there speaks volumes about Tyler.”
Another aspect of Woodcock’s game that impressed Lyons was his physical growth. Woodcock walked into New Palestine as a tiny freshman — too tiny if he was going to survive the riggers of varsity baseball, Lyons said.
“He was an above-average player when we got him,” Lyons said. “He had a lot of growing to do physically. And he put in the work to make sure he did. He’s still small, but pound-for-pound, he could do as many reps in the weight room as anyone else.
“That’s just Tyler, though. He always wanted to do more, whether it was take extra batting practice, work a little longer with coaches or field one more groundball. That’s just who he is.”
Signature moment: Lyons said it is too tough to pinpoint any one standout moment for Woodcock. He did say, though, that Woodcock’s willingness to do the little things to help the Dragons win was nearly unparalleled.
“I’ll tell you this, that kid led our team in hit by pitches,” Lyons said. “He must have taken one once every other game. And it didn’t faze him. He didn’t back off the plate at all. He’s just a grinder, looking for any way to help the team that he could.
“As a coach, when the season ends you look back and judge yourself based on whether or not you got the most out of every player. When Tyler looks back and asks himself if he gave everything he had, his answer should be, ‘absolutely.’”