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Three Rockford University Baseball Players Get A Hometown Opportunity

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — There has been a lot of uncertainty since the college baseball season got shut down in March, but for three Rockford University players, they got to represent Rockford on two different teams amid the pandemic. The opportunity was welcomed with open arms.

Phil Hyland, Troy Tucci, and Chris Hawks were not orignally on the Rivets to start the season. Since most of the roster had to return to their respective campuses to quarantine before the fall semester, the phone rang for the local guys.

"For us small school guys it's harder for us to get a chance you know," said Hyland. "Considering everything that happened I'm just grateful to be here even if I'm in the lineup or not in the lineup just being here seeing the fans and being in this atmosphere it's amazing. It's making me love the game even more."

For Hyland, It's moments off the field that stick with him just as much as the ones on the field, including getting asked for autographs from young fans."

"It's amazing because I remember being in their shoes when I was younger and them asking me to sign an autograph, even if it's one kid a day it just makes my day. It makes me feel so special putting a smile on their face."

Troy Tucci also enjoys the moments off the field, including the jokes shared with teammates that he'll always remember.

"We definitely give each other a hard time," Tucci said with a smile. We'll have some inside jokes and bring it back to campus but yeah it's definitely fun."

For Chris Hawks, he isn't from Rockford but it's become home to him and he's embraced the opportunity.

"It's pretty cool living up here and I get to play in my hometown pretty much i call this my home now, so it's definitely a very neat experience and i hope other kids get to experience this as well because it's something you'll remember forever"

The Rivets wrap up their season on Thursday at Green Bay, when they take on the Booyah.

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Sam Knox

Sam joined the WREX news team in the Spring of 2020.

He graduated from Emerson College in May of 2020, just two days before moving to Rockford to take the job at WREX as a Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter. He majored in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Sports Communication.

Sam is originally from Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and has been an avid sports fan his whole life. He played basketball and baseball in high school, and he went on to play collegiate baseball at Emerson.

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