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WHITING — When Serbian national baseball coach Nikola Vucevic brought his team to the U.S., he had hopes of American-born players with Serbian roots noticing the Serbs do indeed play baseball.
The country will compete Group B of the European Championships in 2018 and play teams like Greece and Israel, who Vucevic said will have a good amount of the aforementioned American-born players, while the Serbian team has a handful eventually wanting to add a few more.
With Serbia's trip, opportunities were provided for a few players with Serbian roots to put the Serbian jersey on and represent their country on the team's five-game exhibition tour. Lake Central's Conner Tomasic, Chicago's Ranko Stevanovic and Ontario's Devlin (Jason) Jovetic are a few players that were reached out to.
Tomasic, entering his senior season at Lake Central, will serve strictly as a pinch-runner or designated hitter as he's coming off Tommy John surgery from a torn UCL. He is 25 percent Serbian, but his dad, Jerry, has 50 percent Serbian and 50 percent Croatian roots.
"It's really cool," Tomasic said. "It's an honor to represent our country in baseball where they're trying to start up the sport. I'd like to teach these guys a little bit, just like the basic fundamentals and the little stuff they may not know."
It'll be the first live action for Tomasic since October. He was recently cleared to hit and run in a live game.
"It's an honor to wear Serbia across my chest," he said. "It makes it mean a little bit more and it's a lot more special to play my first games back representing the country."