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Szymanski joining brother at South Arkansas CC

Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Szymanski joining brother at South Arkansas CC

Ruston High senior Justin Szymanski (third from left) signs to play college baseball at South Arkansas Community College alongside his dad David (second from left) and mom Jessica (far right) Monday afternoon. Justin will get to play alongside his older brother Dawson (far left) at South Arkansas. Leader photo by Matt Belinson

It will be a Szymanski family reunion in El Dorado, Arkansas.

Ruston High senior Justin Szymanski made his commitment to play college baseball with the South Arkansas Community College Stars official Monday at his signing event, joined on stage by his mom Jessica, dad David, and older brother Dawson.

He’ll be seeing his brother a lot more over the next three years.

Dawson, who graduated from Ruston High in 2022, spent this spring at Baton Rouge Community College but elected to transfer to South Arkansas for the 2024 season.

Now, the brothers will reunite once again as they both try to pursue their baseball dreams.

“My whole life, I’ve wanted to have this moment and it’s been my passion and the reason why I do what I do,” Szymanski said. “It’s really exciting to be here and I hope to pursue even more with where I’m going.”

As for playing with his older brother, it’s clear motivation for Justin.

“Ab-so-lutely,” Syzmanski said after his signing. “Because it’s either going to be he’s better than me or I’m going to be better than him. He was going to be the best Szymanski but now it’s going to be me. Either way, we’re going to be each other’s motivators – competing no matter what.”

Justin led the Bearcats on the diamond this season with a team- best 28 RBIs and 2 home runs with a .344 batting average (33-for-96). He earned first team all-district honors this season with 12 RBIs and 2 homers as the Bearcats finished second in the league standings.

But for as much success as Justin’s career has seen up to this point, Ruston baseball coach Zack Smith said his recent success has been defined by fighting to get what he wants – even if it took time to get there.

“When he tried out as a ninth grader, I remember he might have been on the bottom of the list. And then sophomore year, he was JV only,” Smith said. “ But you know what, Justin never quit. He kept fighting, kept grinding, kept working. Junior year, he gets his opportunity and has a little injury – in and out of the lineup. Great teammate.

“Love how you never quit. No matter the situation. Might not have went your way but you kept working, and now you’re seeing the success from it.”

South Arkansas first showed interest at the end of the 2022 season, right as Dawson went through his own recruitment decision, and Justin remembers a feeling of genuine support from the Stars’ coaching staff.

They valued people who work hard like Justin, and it stuck with him until he made it official Monday.

“My dad has always taught me how to always work no matter what you do and with the drive and the work we put towards baseball, I grew a bigger passion for it each and every day and it made me want to get better and I wanted to strive and still be playing and keep playing,” Szymanski said.