Favorite athlete: Mike Trout
Favorite teams: Eagles & Sixers
Favorite memories competing in sports: Big 26 Baseball Classic, Hitting a walk-off to send us to playoffs against Pennsbury.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: When I was a freshman, I collided with a junior football player in the outfield and couldn’t play in spring training in Florida.
Music on mobile device: Hip Hop/Rap
Future plans: It would be an honor to play for a MLB team someday
Words to live by: “The will to win isn’t nearly as important as the will to prepare to win.”
One goal before turning 30: Have a good job to support my family.
One thing people don’t know about me: I have never broken a bone.
By Mary Jane Souder
Evan Profy isn’t big on fanfare.
The Harry S Truman senior was named MVP of the prestigious Big 26 Baseball Classic this summer, but ask him about the experience – which includes a three-game series pitting Pennsylvania against Maryland, and Profy makes no mention of the honor he received. Rather, he recalls sharing the experience with his buddy Zach, who was part of a program that pairs each player with a buddy that has special needs or a learning disability.
That’s not to say he doesn’t mention baseball – he does, but no mention is made of earning MVP.
“The Big 26 was the best baseball experience I’ve ever been a part of,” Profy said. “The best part about it is just to challenge your game and be with all your buddies – you’re really like their whole world.
“That’s like them going to a MLB game and watching you. I didn’t think it affected them as much as it did. Zach came up to me after every game, and after the whole thing was over, he gave me an Eagles neck pillow. I didn’t think I made that much of an impact, but now I stay in touch with him and everything. It meant a lot.”
Earning MVP honors for playing a sport he loves was a bonus of sorts for Profy.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going to get it,” the Truman senior said. “The way it was going – the MVP was basically someone that had a really good play or did something crazy that game. They called my name, and I was shocked. I didn’t think I was going to get it at all.”
Listening to Big 26 coach Kevin Manero tell it, Profy did a lot of things right.
“He really played the game well in all facets,” the North Penn head coach said. “He’s a kid that went up there and bunted but then he also had an opposite field home run.
“The home run was big - it was a big exclamation point at the end of the series, but he also went up his first at-bat of the game and dropped a bunt. This is a situation where you’re kind of trying to showcase yourself, but he’s also smart enough to know that’s a big facet of the game, so he’s not afraid to go up there and do that.
“He also ran the bases aggressively, played the outfield well. He had multiple hits over the three-game series – he had the big home run, multiple RBIs. He’s the kind of kid – he’s not too flashy, he just has an eye for the game. He’s super coachable and doesn’t think too highly of himself.”
Profy has been part of Truman’s varsity since he was a freshman and is a two-time All-SOL National Conference first team selection as an outfielder.
“Evan is an extremely hard worker,” said Truman coach Tim Monaghan, who also coached Profy the last three years on Bristol’s American Legion squad. “He’s a kid who works hard beyond just the time he is with the coach.
“He puts in his hours in the offseason. He’s in the weightroom, he’s doing the things you need to do to become an elite player at this level. So many kids think it’s just talent and you’re just good enough or you’re not. A kid like Evan is an example – he’s not 100 percent self made, but he put in the time he needs to put in away from just the structure of practice and the things that are guided by his coaches to maximize his potential.”
Earning MVP honors in the Big 26 Classic is just one piece of the story. It turns out there was a price tag attached for Profy that he couldn’t have imagined when he tried out for the all-star team in early May. After all, what were the odds that his Bristol American Legion squad – which finished fourth in the regular season – would capture the Region 3 title and earn a berth in the American Legion PA State Tournament in Dubois. Beyond that, who would have guessed that the start of the state tournament would coincide with the weekend of the Big 26?
But that’s exactly what happened, and unbeknownst to Profy was the fact that he would not be permitted to compete with his Bristol American Legion squad since he was not there to sign in with his team when the tournament began.
“They were saying the Big 26 would only interfere if we went to states, and no one thought we would make it to regionals, so it wasn’t a big deal,” Profy said. “When we won regionals, I knew I was going to miss games because I was going to be in Harrisburg, but I didn’t know they weren’t going to let me play until the day before I could have come back.”
Profy lived with the hope that he’d be able to play with his teammates in the state tournament after he returned from the Big 26.
“Right after Harrisburg I came back home real quick,” he said. “My assistant coach came down to where I live and took me up to Dubois just in case I was going to be able to play.
“They had strong doubts that I’d be able to play, but there was still a chance. When I got there, they didn’t even let me in the dugout.”
Monaghan, who encouraged Profy to try out for the Big 26, found his Bristol Legion squad in a tough spot.
“Both Evan and the team suffered,” he said. “He’s our leadoff hitter, our centerfielder. He’s a kid we’ve had for three years, and in three years on my legion team, he never missed a game when we were struggling, he never missed a game all the way through. The first game he missed was at the state tournament when he was unavailable because of the rules he was caught up in.
“I’m a big proponent of American Legion baseball, but some of the problems legion has are exposed in situations where it puts good kids like Evan in the crosshairs. I don’t want to come off as though I’m badmouthing American Legion, but in this day and age, you have to be more flexible than ever to attract kids and not turn them away. I think it’s time – even within the State of Pennsylvania rather than getting to the national conversation – that things need to be looked at to keep kids playing the sport and not turning them away.”
Profy watched his legion team from the stands.
“To speak to his character – he drove home from Harrisburg and then got in a car the next morning and drove with one of our assistant coaches four-and-a-half hours back to Dubois to stand in the stands with his jersey on and cheer on his teammates,” Monaghan said.
“Knowing what I know about Evan from his summer baseball, he’s super team-oriented and committed to the team,” Manero said. “You just see him out there blending with the guys.
“He’s not talking about his numbers and his stats, he just wants to go and play. I think that’s the best quality.”
Lost in the shuffle was the fact that Profy tried out for the Big 26 squad as a sophomore but didn’t make the team.
“He wanted to make the team this year to show he’s growing as a player,” Monaghan said. “I pushed him for that opportunity to go back – don’t give up on it, go back, it will be good for you.
“For him to go from one year where he’s not really on the radar to a year later he’s the MVP of that weekend, I couldn’t say enough about how proud I am as his coach that he persevered through that. He was resilient, he kept at it, and he went back.
“Not only did he go back, but that whole weekend – all the kids there are trying to put their best foot forward, they’re trying to showcase themselves for their future, and he was able to capitalize on that with one of his best performances on a weekend where I’m sure his heart was still where we were in Dubois because we’re the team and the kids that he grew up with in his community.”
“It was really tough,” Profy said. “But this was definitely the best summer I’ve had baseball-wise. I definitely got better as a player and stronger and bigger.”
Baseball was one of three sports Profy played as a youngster.
“Baseball wasn’t even my favorite sport,” he said. “I really liked soccer and basketball more.
“I always loved sports, I always loved to watch them and watch my sister (Kylie). I was more of a soccer player. I played travel soccer before baseball. When I was probably 10, I started playing travel baseball. My team and coaches made me like baseball more, and I stopped playing travel soccer. I just liked the competitiveness and my teammates.”
Profy began playing legion baseball the summer after his freshman year, and he will be back on the legion circuit next summer. He is a member of the Varsity Club at Truman.
“Evan is a great student – he’s got great grades,” Monaghan said. “He’s quiet by nature – he’s not a big rah rah guy that’s going to scream and yell the whole game, but if a moment arises where he needs to tell a teammate they need to be doing something a certain way or there’s a moment in the game when Evan says something, it means a little more. He’s a leader more by example than words because – more often than not – he is always doing the right thing.”
Profy plans to play collegiate baseball and recently visited Coastal Carolina.
“His game has a chance to translate at every level,” Manero said. “He’s not going to necessarily be a big-time power hitter or anything like that, and maybe some of his measurables in this world of numbers and showcases don’t impress a lot of people.
“But if a college coach really wants to win, he’s got to have guys on his team that know how to play the game and know how to win, and that’s the kind of kid he is. Once he gets between the lines he’s going to help them win, and that’s what everybody wants to do at the next level.”