• Emily Bondi

Krauza Credits Divine Intervention for Division One Baseball Experience

Image credit--Becky Polaski

“How you do anything is how you do everything.”

By: Emily Bondi

Michael Krauza has a very vivid memory the first time he ever saw his name on the back of a baseball jersey. A resident of Murrysville, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Franklin Regional, Krauza began his baseball journey on a 9U travel team coached by Ken Halleck.

“I will never forget that day, getting a jersey with my name on it was so cool. I thought I died and went to heaven.”

Krauza who describes himself as tenacious, competitive and a quick learner has used those qualities to cultivate his dream into a reality. His journey however hasn’t come without its challenges.

Krauza was first tested when he got cut from the Franklin Regional school team in 8th and 9th grade and basically quit baseball after that. It wasn’t until a family friend, Jim Frey offered to help with some training that Krauza really opened his eyes to playing again. The next three years of high school Krauza played baseball for Franklin Regional as well as the Murrysville Legion team in the Summer.

The Murrysville Legion team coached by Gus Bondi was the turning point Krauza needed to fall in love with the game of baseball again.

“Gus Bondi convinced me to play legion the summer before college and I fell in love with the game all over again because I actually played. Coach Bondi had a way of cultivating me and I would call it divine intervention. He turned me into a man and never took my crap. He knew I played with a fire of intensity and he added the fuel and I would not be here without him,” Krauza said.

Once college came around Krauza knew he didn’t want to stop playing so he joined club baseball at Xavier University.

But Krauza was itching for more at the end of freshman year. “I would go watch the Xavier games and I thought how amazing it would be if I did this and thought I should give this a shot.”

That is when Krauza found a program called Driveline Baseball in Seattle which focuses on weighted ball training. Krauza knew if he wanted any chance of being a pitcher at a division one level, he needed to gain weight and velocity.

“I used to eat 7,8,9 meals a day. Eating became a chore. I gained 40 pounds in like 7 months. I started dead lifting and bench pressing around 275 and started throwing weighted balls as hard as I could” explained Krauza.

By sophomore year at a club game for Xavier Krauza hit 85mph pitching.

“I knew once I hit low 90s, I could send videos out to other schools. A few weeks later I hit 88mph and that’s when I sent a video out to five different schools ranging in divisions and I heard back immediately from all five.”

Eric Cressey and Eric Schoenburg played a huge part in getting Krauza to the point of throwing that fast and making sure he was a healthy pitcher. Krauza worked with both of these powerhouses in Boston at Cressey Sports Performance.

Krauza said, "It was a blessing to work with both of these men. They are pioneers in there field and having the opportunity to work with them was amazing."

Once Krazua heard back from all five schools there was one in particular that peaked his interest.

Krauza said, “I got on the phone with Coach Sudbrook from St. Bonaventure University and said I was in. I didn’t even look at the campus and the rest is history.”

Krauza graduated from St. Bonaventure University in May 2019 with a degree in finance and minor in economics. He is continuing his education there now, receiving his MBA and playing in his last year of baseball.

Krauza is enjoying his time left at St. Bonaventure and has a very bright future.

“I would like to pursue a baseball operations front office position or a job in finance. The dream job would be a general manger in baseball, but my ultimate goal is to be a father. I would love to be a father. My life would be complete.”

The saying it takes a village is so true time and time again. Without Krauza’s parents, Ken Halleck, Gus Bondi, Jim Frey, Eric Cressey and Eric Schoenberg Krauza would not be in the position he is.

“My faith has made the highs higher and the lows not as low. I have tried to view things through a Christian lens every single day. The people I mentioned have intervened at a time in my life when baseball was fading away from me. I have had so many good people in my corner and I am blessed, and I can’t ignore it. This has been a blessing. It’s to good to be true and if that’s the case someone is pulling the puppet strings.”

Krauza is living out his boyhood dream of playing division one baseball. He recently hit 92mph with his fast ball and is excited to see what the future holds.

For more Western Pennsylvania sports stories, you can find Emily Bondi on Twitter.