Former Rock pitcher pens professional baseball contract


Slippery Rock, Pa. - John Kovalik, a 2014 Slippery Rock University graduate, has signed a contract to pitch for the Gary South Shore RailCats in 2016. Kavalik, a communication/public relations major, played four seasons for The Rock baseball team. The right-handed pitcher appeared in 73 games throughout his SRU career going 4-2 with a 1.43 ERA his senior season with a team leading six saves in 37.2 innings pitched.

Kovalik a native of Aurora, Ohio, had two separate stints with the RailCats in 2015 and finished strong in the South Shore pen. He was signed by the 'Cats July 13, but didn't make an appearance before his release three days later. The RailCats then brought him back as a free agent Aug. 10. He went on to appear in 10 games posting a 2.92 ERA in 12.1 relief innings. He struck out 13 batters for the RailCats. 

The RailCats are a professional baseball team based in Gary, Indiana, and are a member of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. The RailCats won league championships in 2005, 2007, and 2013 and  are the only team in Northern League history to reach the Championship Series five years in a row (2005-09). 

In 2014, Kovalik spent the season with the Frontier Greys of the Frontier League. He worked in 19 games, all in relief, with a 7.17 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched.