BY STEVE KRAH
Tyler Nemtuda did not get to pitch in a competitive baseball game for three years.
He got the chance to get back in the game in 2023 and he made the most of it.
A left-hander and 2020 graduate of Portage (Ind.) High School, Nemtuda lost his senior season with the Indians to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While competing in a travel-ball PBR Future Games event at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind., Nemtuda attracted the attention of coaches at Florence-Darlington Technical College — a junior college in Florence, S.C. He went for a visit and decided to become a Flo-Dar Stinger.
But a car accident about a year into school caused him to drop all his classes and miss out on the 2021 baseball season.
Just before the 2022 slate, Nemtuda dislocated his left knee cap. He had surgery and missed that campaign as well.
“I had a pretty rough two years,” says Nemtuda.
He began running and throwing last July. With his knee on the mend, he got to play for the first time since his junior year at Portage.
This spring, the southpaw played for head coach head coach Preston McDonald, pitching coach Jeremy McDonald (not relation to Preston) and assistant pitching coach Ryan Smith and made 18 mound appearances (16 in relief), going 3-1
with two saves, a 3.77 earned run average, 32 strikeouts and 15 walks in 28 2/3 innings.
“They told us to work hard, never give up and do your best every time you go out there,” says Nemtuda of his Flo-Dar coaches. “We learned a lot, made a lot of friends and had a good time.”
Throwing from an arm slot between three-quarter overhand and sidearm, the lefty uses a two-seam fastball, slider and change-up.
The two-seamer can move into or away a hitter on either side of the plate and sits at 87 to 89 mph and has topped out at 90.
“That’s like my best pitch right now,” says Nemtuda. “I have a lot of arm-side run and then it will sometimes cut into righties, too. I get a lot of ground balls.
He also gets plenty of swings and misses with the fastball when he puts it inside or up in the strike zone.
The slider moves to left to right, landing on the back foot of a right-handed hitter.
His change-up is a three-finger splitter with the ring and pointer fingers placed outside of his two-seam grip.
Nemtuda earned an associate degree in Arts at Florence-Darlington and is committed to join the Bearcats of NCAA Division II Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., in the fall while studying Business Administration.
Jason Burke is Lander’s head coach. Alex Moore is pitching coach. The Bearcats are Peach Belt Conference members.
Baseball and school keep him busy, but when he has time Nemtuda enjoys fishing. He tends to go for brown trout, steelhead and bass at home and bass in South Carolina.
Tyler was born in Chesterton, Ind., and and attended school there until moving to nearby Portage after his freshman year as his father went there for a basketball coaching job.
Father Bob Nemtuda is now a Physical Education teacher at Liberty Elementary School in Chesterton. Mother Tracy Nemtuda is nurse for Ambiomed. Older sister Taylor Nemtuda was involved in cross country, tennis and some basketball at Chesterton.
Tyler played baseball at what is now Liberty Rec Babe Ruth and State Park Little League — both in Chesterton — and then went into travel ball with the Chesterton-based Duneland Flyers, Illinois-based Elite Baseball and the Indiana Bulls.
He was on the Chesterton High School junior varsity as a freshman and the Portage varsity as a sophomore and junior. He played first base and right field when not pitching. His coaches were Bob Dixon and John Selman.
“They were just great coaches that would help you with anything,” says Nemtuda. “I lift a lot. They’d always open the gym and weight room for me, which was awesome.
“I still talk to them to this day.”
Former Portage head coach Doug Nelson has also given facilities access to Nemtuda.
This summer, Nemtuda is with the Northern League’s Northwest Indiana Oilmen. The Adam Enright-managed team is to open its season today (May 25) at Lake County (Crown Point, Ind.) with the home opener at Oil City Stadium in Whiting, Ind., June 7.