Deryk Serbantez came into the summer unsure of what his next step would be. After two years of being an everyday player for Wharton County Junior College, he had no summer home and zero Division I offers.
Serbantez, a utility player throughout his career, originally planned to play in Kentucky this summer, but plans fell through and he was without a team. That was when Generals Coach Michael Oros stepped in.
“He was a great addition for us,” Oros said. “We don’t usually go after guys that play both sides of the ball because of the toll it takes on their bodies, but Deryk has shown that he can handle doing it. He became available to us late, and the coach at Wharton has been great to us. He let us know about Deryk and how good he is on both sides of the ball, and we couldn’t pass up that opportunity.”
For Serbantez, it was a great fit.
“It’s a blessing to be able to play here,” Serbantez said. “I’m happy to be playing in the same area I grew up. I have family here in the Victoria area, and it’s great being able to play in front of them every game.”
Once he got to Victoria, Serbantez didn’t miss a beat, making the TCL All-Star Game behind an ERA of 2.32 and 49 strikeouts while also having excellent numbers as a hitter, with a batting average of .361, an on-base percentage of .521 and 11 RBIs.
The high kept going as UT Rio Grande Valley came calling and offered Serbantez the Division I scholarship he was waiting on.
“I’m excited to get out there and compete with a Division I program,” Serbantez said. “This game is full of journeys no matter where you go, and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.”
Oros credits Serbantez’s success to his strong work ethic, but Serbantez credits his teammates.
“I think my success comes from my teammates and how they’ve helped me out, to be honest,” he said. “I’ve been so comfortable here, especially around the fans and this community.”
Serbantez said he hopes that work ethic turns into more success when he takes the next step in his career at UTRGV.
“I want to focus on my pitching once I get there,” Serbantez said. “I hope to become a weekend starter in the spring, but they might use me as a DH as well. I’ll do whatever the coaches need; I just can’t wait to compete at a Division I level.”
Oros, for one, has no doubt in Serbantez’s abilities, and he believes Serbantez will fit right in as a Division I player.
“Deryk is definitely a Division I player,” Oros said. “I think that UTRGV got a great signing, and for him, the sky is the limit. He definitely has a future pitching, and if he keeps hitting the same way, he might even be a two-way guy at the Division I level as well.”