Djuraskovic Overcomes Setbacks to Chase Baseball Dreams
Rafters pitcher Cal Djuraskovic has taken an unconventional route to college baseball success
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – In the weight room at Central Michigan University during the spring of 2016 Cal Djuraskovic felt a pop in his knee during hex bar dead lifts. A few days later, Djuraskovic found out that “pop” was in fact him fracturing his knee and altering the path of his baseball career.
Rewind to 2014 when Djuraskovic was a recent graduate of the Bishop Noll Institute. His time in USA Baseball’s National Team Identification Series connected him with the head coach at Division II Tiffin University. Djuraskovic committed and attended Tiffin for his freshman season.
In 2015, Djuraskovic decided the program at Tiffin didn’t line up with what he was looking for. He utilized his redshirt season and prepared to play Division I baseball as a transfer at Central Michigan.
It was while grey-shirting during the 2016 season with Central Michigan that Djuraskovic fractured his knee and was forced to find a new home for his collegiate baseball career. That’s when he reached out to the coaching staff at Davenport University, a school that had shown interest in him in high school.
When Djuraskovic finally visited Davenport and threw a bullpen session for the coaches there, he had just finished eight months of injury rehabilitation. That was the first time he had thrown a baseball since the injury. Djuraskovic ended up joining the team at Davenport as a walk-on for the 2017 season.
He didn’t play that first year at Davenport and he battled consistency issues in limited appearances the next season in 2018. During his third year of eligibility, it all came together. Djuraskovic appeared in 13 games, starting eight. He finished the season with 45 strikeouts and a 3-2 record and brings those numbers to the Rafters in 2019.
“Being a part of the Northwoods League is a complete honor. The competition and exposure you receive from this league is amazing,” Djuraskovic said. “The ultimate goal is to play in the MLB. Playing in this league definitely gives you the opportunity to be noticed.”
This summer in Wisconsin Rapids, Djuraskovic wants to both grow as a player and bring a championship back to Rapids. Entering his sixth year of college athletics, he has his sights set on landing in professional baseball. All the while, Djuraskovic is motivated by the person he calls his main supporter and believer: his mom.
“I realized a long time ago that, without my mom, none of this would be possible,” Djuraskovic said. “I continue my dream of baseball not only because I love the game but I want to be able to take care of my mom.”
Want to attend a Rafters game this season? Single-game tickets are on sale now. For more information on all Rafters ticket offerings visit Raftersbaseball.com, call the Rafthouse at 715-424-5400, or come visit us over at historic Witter Field. The Rafters ticket office is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday at Witter Field, 521 Lincoln Street in Wisconsin Rapids.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rafters as your favorite team.