Braden Giroux’s name is hard to pronounce.
“Probably nine out of 10 times, people get it wrong,” said Giroux (pronounced Ja-Rew).
The recent McCutcheon graduate doesn’t care how college baseball coaches pronounce it, so long as they remember it.
That’s what his plan is this weekend for the North/South All-Star series, a three-game extravaganza at Indiana State University’s Bob Warn Field. Giroux is one of five local players competing for the North squad.
“I am hoping to impress a lot of people in the way I play and kind of get my name out there to some people who haven’t seen me yet,” Giroux said. “Maybe they’ll keep me on the radar and look at me in a couple years.”
Giroux has Division I baseball talent.
He knows it. His high school coach knows it. Heck, even some Division I baseball coaches know it.
That’s why they were on the trail of the speedy outfielder.
“I am not sure why they didn’t bite on him,” said veteran McCutcheon coach Jake Burton, who says Giroux possesses the speed, arm strength, patience at the plate and ability to hit that is coveted by coaches at that level.
For whatever reason — Giroux thinks perhaps his size — interest waned as it got closer to time for Giroux to make a decision about his future.
So he committed to Wabash Valley, a junior college in Mount Carmel, Illinois.
He’ll have an opportunity to be on the field right away. More importantly, he’ll be given chances to prove it is his skills and not his size that make him a desirable Division I player.
Former McCutcheon and Purdue baseball player Cory Peabody went that route.
Peabody’s influence factored into Giroux’s decision to attend Wabash Valley.
“Wabash Valley will put me out in front of the right schools and I’ll get the right amount of reps there,” Giroux said. “It will allow me to get a little bit more size and more speed on me.”
Sixteen members of Wabash Valley’s 2015 roster will move on to play Division I baseball.
Giroux always has envisioned himself doing the same.
He developed work ethic watching his role model, McCutcheon graduate and current Chicago Cubs pitcher Clayton Richard.
Burton boasts about Giroux’s tireless effort, as well as another endearing quality he believes makes Giroux a marketable Division I player.
“He’s got a great work ethic and great attitude,” Burton said. “There’s kids that can play the game. Braden’s got great leadership capabilities, too.
“He swings a good bat and is a good leadoff man because he can run. He also has power, hits the other way, hits the ball well to all parts of the field. I think you are going to see him jump from junior college next year to a Division I school. He’s kind of under the radar, but he’s got qualities people didn’t see.”
Giroux sprints from the dugout to his position with the same ferocity as he chases down fly balls. He bolts down the baseline trying to beat out a ground ball to the pitcher the same way he does trying to leg out a triple on a line drive to the gap.
He makes it a daily personal challenge that he will always outhustle everyone. Sometimes, little things like that get overlooked.
Giroux hopes they don’t on Friday and Saturday in the all-star series, where he’s appreciative he will be given one last opportunity to represent McCutcheon as the program’s 22nd all-star.
“I just wanted to make my senior season the most memorable season it could be,” Giroux said. “I think it will be good to wear the McCutcheon uniform one more time, too, and go out on a positive note.”
At Indiana State University
Times: 2 p.m., 5:45 p.m.
Saturday (wood bat game)
Time: 1 p.m.
Local participants: Braden Giroux (McCutcheon), Dylan Kiracofe (Central Catholic), Matt McConnell (Harrison), Leo Lopez (Frankfort), Cole Frybort (North White)
If you go: Bob Warn Field is at 931 N. First St. in Terre Haute.