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09/14/2023 01:16 PM

Kornacki Carved Out High-Character Niche as North Haven Baseball Captain

Tyler Kornacki is continuing the game of baseball at Western New England University. As a senior captain for the North Haven baseball team in 2023, the center fielder earned All-SCC and All-State Team accolades. Photo courtesy of Tyler Kornacki

Tyler Kornacki has made an indelible impact on the fabric of North Haven baseball across the town for over a decade with the various clubs he has played on. Now, after having a tremendous send-off season, he is ready to forge ahead along the base paths in college.

Tyler, a member of the Class of 2023 at North Haven High School, grew up competing on the baseball field, the basketball court, and the gridiron, but baseball stood out to him through his early adolescence.

As a senior captain for the Nighthawks’ baseball squad this past spring, Tyler was named to First Team All-SCC and was also selected as an All-State athlete for Class L as he helped North Haven rebound from an 0-4 start to qualify for states. At the team’s awards ceremony, Tyler (also an honor roll student) was given the team MVP award by Head Coach Joseph Romanelli. Tyler recently committed to playing baseball at Western New England University.

“I grew up watching players like David Wright and Derek Jeter, and then I saw potential in myself with the game as I got older, and then I just grew into the player I am now,” says Tyler. “I see myself as a hard-working and determined kid. Once I start something, I never quit. I will practice for hours to perfect a craft and will go above even my own standards. I want to prove myself to be better than others, but I really thank my whole family for my success, too. I took playing college ball for granted at first when I received my initial offers, but then I realized I couldn’t throw the game and my dream of playing college baseball away. I am happy to be a part of it in college now.”

Defensively, Tyler cut his teeth in the dirt growing up with the game, though he saw a window of opportunity upon entering the upperclassmen portion of his North Haven tenure, and he took full advantage while dashing to make dazzling defensive web gems.

“My junior year, our team was full of seniors, and I saw my best chance to play was by playing the outfield,” Tyler says. “I picked it up quickly, and tracking fly balls was fun. I earned a starting spot in center last year, and you really have to have speed out there and be in shape. You must have hand-eye vision to read the ball right off the bat and even the rotation of the ball. I loved it, especially making runs to make diving catches because those got my blood pumping.”

The reps in the weight room brought about great physical progress and swagger at the dish for Tyler and the lumber. But most importantly, he has learned that in a game littered with ups and downs, one must simply stay collected, present, and in the moment.

“From sophomore to senior year, I grew and hit the weights, which gave me more power at the plate, and it helped me grow as a leader,” says Tyler. “I was taught by my dad that you have to stay calm and stay within yourself. It also shows character when you hold your attitude in check after striking out. I feel I matured in that quality as a senior captain and helped the younger guys with that.”

Romanelli recalls it can be daunting when replacing a legend in the dugout, but with Tyler’s impeccable leadership and impenetrable positivity, it was a switch that proved seamless and successful for himself, Tyler, and the rest of the Nighthawks in 2023.

“Tyler was one of our captains this past year and helped lead the team during a transition between [former longtime Head Coach] Bob DeMayo and myself,” says Romanelli. “He was a player that, as a coaching staff, we could depend on to always give 100% in everything that he did, and he always kept a positive attitude no matter the situation.”

With an even-keeled demeanor as a captain, Tyler also tried to maintain a level hand when it came to correcting and redirecting the younger teammates, whether it was how to field a ground ball or to stay grounded and focused on the task at hand.

“It was an honor to be one of the first captains after Coach DeMayo left, and I really loved it,” says Tyler. “I tried to be as fair as I could be, but when people goofed off, I tried to be a mentor to the kids and put forth my best effort in every practice and game. It was a hard year. We started 0-4 and went on to win a ton of games to finish 12-8 on the regular season. I tried to just have the best attitude and stay positive.”

Tyler certainly has a photographic grasp of the bigger picture in priorities as he becomes a collegiate student-athlete. Yet as he moves forward, he looks back quite fondly on the connections and friendships forged with kids he played alongside since Kindergarten.

“I value my academics as much as my athletics. I want to have a good job after school. My nose is in the books every day,” Tyler says. “North Haven baseball gave me a lot. It created a family for me, playing with the same kids I had played with since I was 5. I made a ton of great memories with friends. It taught me how to play the game and value life, and I appreciate that.”