He’d always dreamed of venturing into space, and playing baseball along the way. Now he’s living both dreams.
Accepted into University of British Columbia’s engineering program on a academic scholarship, Bryan Pawlina enjoyed his fourth and last season of PBL baseball with the Parksville Royals organization in 2012.
He had planned on walking on for tryouts with the UBC Thunderbirds baseball team with the hope of maybe red shirting for the team his first season. But a phone call mid-August changed all that when an invitation to play for the T-Birds was received.
Traditionally, the T-Birds do not take engineering students as members of the squad, given the extraordinary academic schedule those students must endure. With practices six days/week mid-afternoon, it leaves very little time for a full load of classes at the university level.
But Pawlina was up for the challenge, changed a few classes around, and worked hard through the fall ball season. The hard work and commitment paid off, as he was taken on as a full member of the pitching staff for the 2013 season.
Exhibition games began in February with four games in Idaho followed by a 10-day trip to southern California for a further eight games. Pawlina pitched in six of those 12 games (more than anyone else on the team) boasting a 1.23 earned run average over 7.1 innings on the mound, giving up just one hit with 6 Ks and holding his opponents to a 1.20 batting average.
Last weekend the T-Birds were back in California for their opening NAIA season which they split 2-2. Pawlina factored in the final win of the weekend, coming on in the third and pitching four innings allowing only one hit, no earned runs, striking out three and picking up the W for the team.
In his spare time, Pawlina has joined an elite group of engineering students working to send a satellite to space in two years. The program is called Orbit, and Pawlina is part of the team that will guide the satellite back to Earth.
Of course all of this would not have been possible without the tremendous support and guidance of both the teaching staff at Mark Isfeld Secondary school and the baseball programs and coaching staffs of CVBA, the North Island Blizzard and the Parksville Royals of the PBL.
Special thanks to all the financial contributions over the year as well including the Knights of Columbus, SD71, Courtenay Legion Br. 60, and the Premier Baseball League.
– Pawlina Family