From the "Ouachitonian": Tyler RiebockMay 24, 2021 - Ben Swanger
Previously published in the 2020 Ouachitonian yearbook
With dozens of NCAA Division I athletes getting an invitation into the Coastal Plain League, standout Tiger baseball third baseman Tyler Riebock, a junior biology major from Rockwall, Texas, had the opportunity to spend his summer playing against top competition.
The CPL is one of America’s premier summer college baseball leagues. The league’s history dates back to 1937 and has produced big name ball players like Justin Verlander, Ryan Zimmerman, Kevin Youkilis, and even Super Bowl champion quarterback Russell Wilson. The league consists of 16 teams stretching from Georgia through the Carolinas and up to Virginia.
Every successful ball player sets goals, and Riebock had a simple one.
“I had a lot of goals going into the summer,” Riebock said. “There were a lot of guys from big name, power five conference schools that were on my team and the teams I played against. I just wanted to prove that I belonged right there alongside them.”
The power five conferences are Division I schools in the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, PAC 12 and Big 12. Riebock represented Division II’s Great American Conference (GAC), and he represented at a high level.
Riebock was a member of the Martinsville Mustangs who played their home games in Martinsville, Va. In 42 games for the Mustangs, Riebock was able to lead the team in homeruns and runs batted-in, with seven total homeruns and 26 RBI's.
One of the most prestigious teams in the league is the Savannah Bananas. The team has been able to sell out their stadium 88 straight games. Riebock said one of his favorite memories was taking the field against the Bananas: “It was truly an indescribable experience, no doubt.”
With a huge bat and consistent defense, Riebock was named a CPL All-Star. Not only did he play in the All-Star game, but Riebock also competed in the league’s homerun derby.
Riebock said, “When I was announced as an All-Star, I felt like I had accomplished my goal of proving that I belonged alongside the power five players.”
The most unforgettable moment didn’t occur during the All-Star game, but before it.
“The best part about the All-Star game was getting to feel like a big leaguer,” Riebock said. “There were kids walking up to me asking for my autograph left and right. It was cool to see baseball come full circle knowing that I used to be the one looking up to those players when I was a kid.”
As an all-conference GAC third baseman, a CPL All-Star and home run derby participant, Riebock is cementing himself as a standout ball player who’s name is worth knowing.
Photo by Danielle Sourber