Franklin College senior baseball player Tyler Ison figures he has come full circle.
The former Whiteland Community High School standout arrived at Franklin as an outfielder. He switched to catcher as a freshman and then played some first base. Last season he started 35 games at catcher and first base.
This season Ison has played catcher, right field, left field and first base.
“He’s been a blessing for our program because we can play him at multiple places, and he does a great job defensively anywhere we put him,” Grizzlies coach Lance Marshall said.
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“He’s a big strong guy, and he’s athletic enough that he can play multiple positions.
“He’s a terrific leader.”
Ison likes the variety of playing different positions.
“I love catching being on every play and having some control in the game and being involved in every single play,” said Ison, who started 12 games as a freshman and 19 games as a sophomore.
Ison had never been a catcher before the first season in Franklin.
“It was something I had to learn and grasp pretty quick,” Ison said. “I’ve come a long way since day one.”
The right-handed Ison batted .296 with 10 doubles and five home runs (second on the team) last season. He was named to the D3baseball.com National Team of the Week for his performance in four games (.438, two homers, nine runs batted in) in April.
“Once we hit conference play, I started to produce a little more consistently,” Ison said. “I know I can hit and produce a lot better than that, and that’s what I’m expecting to do this year.”
Prior to Friday’s action, Ison was hitting just .211, but Marshall said he believes better days are ahead.
“His swing is really coming along and he’s been driving the ball better as of late,” Marshall said. “I know he’ll find his groove real soon. He drives the ball as well as anybody. He’ll be one of our leaders in slugging percentage I’m sure.”
Last season, the Grizzlies (24-17) blew a ninth-inning lead to Anderson, losing 13-12 in 12 innings and were eliminated in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament. The tournament champion advances to the NCAA Division III tournament.
That lost stung Ison, who watched it unfold after being pulled from the game when Franklin had the lead so he could catch again the next day.
“I knew I didn’t want my senior year to end the way it did (last year),” Ison said. “I knew I had to step it up because there are a lot of guys that look up to me. I want to be a leader by example and put down a lot of effort and show those guys this is a year we can do something special.
“I think we have more depth this year than we have had in the previous years, especially pitching-wise and fielding. We have guys one to 35 that should be able to produce.”
Ison, an outfielder/pitcher in high school, got a taste of winning as the Warriors captured Class 4A sectional titles his junior and senior seasons. Whiteland was unbeaten in Mid-State Conference play his junior season.
Ison said the fact Franklin College was so close to home didn’t play much of a role in his decision.
“I fell in love with the campus and how small it was,” Ison said. “I knew I wanted to go somewhere that was a smaller school and had more of a community-based feel to it.”
Name: Tyler Ison
College: Franklin College
Weight: 225 pounds
Personal: Has two younger sisters, Elli, a Whiteland Community High School junior, and Tori, a Whiteland senior. Tori played basketball for the Warriors, and Elli is a competition cheerleader.
Positions: Right field, left field, catcher, first base
Future plans: A biology major, he is slated to graduate following the fall semester. He plans to go to graduate school for biostatistics.
Hobbies: Golf, fishing, recently starting hunting with bow; involved with Franklin Outdoors Club, intramural flag football and pick-up basketball.
Favorite musician: “Tim McGraw is by far by my favorite.”
Favorite TV show: “’Friends.’ “I watch it every night.”