Myles Zilinksy prepares for his final season at Oakland

Jonathan Savich, Staff Reporter

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Myles Zilinsky is the left fielder for the Oakland baseball team and he looks to close his baseball career with a bang this season, as he also prepares for a life outside of baseball and college.

He is from West Chicago, which may be mistaken as the west side of Chicago, but it’s actually a city about 45 minutes from downtown Chicago. Oakland, having a relatively similar proximity to Detroit is something that reminded Zilinsky of home, and it was a factor that helped him choose OU.

Growing up a Cubs fan and an overall Chicago sports fan, he has seen his hardships but he also has experienced triumphs. By the time Zilinsky had gotten to high school, he knew every other sport was a side gig compared to baseball.

Zilinsky will be graduating this semester with a double major in accounting and finance. In 2018 he was named to the 2018 Horizon League All-Academic Team. He recently accepted a position at Stout, a global finance firm and will be working back in Chicago as an investment banking analyst.

There are several players who are also from the Chicago metro area and they can watch the games together like the recent Cody Parkey fiasco, which was a devastating blow for all Chicago sports fans. Before the games, the team likes to play a game called two ball in order to relax and get ready for the match-up.

“Being on a sports team is like being in a family at Oakland,” Zilinsky said about being a part of the team, “You basically come to campus with 35 friends made for you… it’s one of the nice things about being a student-athlete at Oakland. Everyone is really welcoming and everyone wants to get to know each other.”

As a competitor on the field, he doesn’t see himself as a vocal leader. Zilinsky decides to lead by example, it’s what he has always done and will continue to do. As a hitter, he can be entered anywhere in the line up whether he’s leading off, batting third or rounding the back end of the hitting order at seven or eight. Zilinsky said the team’s goal is to win the Horizon League Championship, and they always want to gun to be first or second seed in the Horizon League tournament in order to get the bye week. As a senior, he will be looked up to as a team leader, and will set the bar with his competitive style.

“There’s about 11 or 12 seniors on the team and we are ultimately all leaders,” Zilinsky said. “There’s not one or the other above each other, underclassmen can come to any senior and it’d be the same.”

He has enjoyed volunteering with the team at various events he wouldn’t have gotten to attend otherwise. Being a part of the baseball team has helped him in aspects of life outside of the sport like communication and leadership development. As Zilinsky and the boys gear up for springtime, they will have their hands full.

The season kicks off on Feb. 15 against Western Carolina in North Carolina. The Golden Grizzlies don’t return home until March 29, so it will be some time before they’re playing on their home turf. Zilinsky will look to build off an impressive campaign where he had a .313 batting average and hit three home runs.