When IU senior outfielder and New York native Chris Hervey stepped foot on the Bloomington campus for the first time, he described it as a “culture shock.” Four years later, there is no place he would rather be.
“I had heard it was going to be different (in the Midwest), but you don’t really know until you get out here and experience it,” Hervey said. “Coming from Long Island, everyone is trying to do 100 things at once, but here it was not the case at all. In the end, it all worked out really well. I could not ask for anything more.”
His fellow senior teammate and three-year roommate, pitcher Joe Vicini, will also be ending his collegiate career this season.
Though Hervey initially had a tough adjustment to the town because of its laid-back nature, Vicini had the opposite problem.
“It really was not that much of a change for me, because I was moving into a much bigger area,” Vicini, from Rural Valley, Pa., said. “I came from a really small town in Western Pennsylvania and (going to school in Bloomington) was a change. Any time you go from one culture to another, it’s going to be different.”
On the season, Hervey is batting .288 with 30 hits and 12 RBI. Vicini, hampered with injuries since March, has only taken the mound three times.
But while the two seniors may not be the most potent players on the field, IU coach Tracy Smith said their contributions to the team have been immeasurable.
“I can’t say enough about these two kids,” Smith said. “Hervey’s a very emotional guy, a fun guy to coach, because he brings a lot of energy every single day to the ballpark. (Vicini) always wanted the baseball. He was never a guy we questioned (putting) in tough situations, to get the job done.”
Looking back on their careers as Hoosiers, both players said last year’s magical run in the Big Ten Tournament was one of the most memorable moments in their four years. In that post-season, IU made it to the semi-final round after a first-round loss, before falling to rival Purdue in the end.
Vicini said after he graduates from IU, he might be working for a Pittsburgh-area sports team in the marketing and sales department. Eventually, he would like to use his sports communication degree to find a job in the broadcast industry.
Hervey, though he has used his four years of eligibility, will be on campus next year taking classes in the fall and as a student teacher in the spring. He said after graduation, he sees himself working in the sport of baseball.
For Hervey and Vicini, their future career endeavors will always be there. Now it is time for baseball.
IU (22-24) has a Big Ten record of 11-6 and currently sits in fourth place in the conference standings. The post-season tournament will begin May 20 in Columbus, Ohio.
“Joe and Chris are guys who love the game, and that just rubs off on all of us,” junior pitcher Eric Arnett said. “They’ve seen this team change a lot over their four years, going from last place to competing for a championship, and we want to send them out on top.”