Thomas Roulis competes with a non-stop determination to improve, though he says he's not interested in knowing his personal statistics.
For the last 7 weeks, the former two-sport standout and MVP at has proven himself one of the permier players in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, one of the eight summer leagues sanctioned by the NCAA and partially funded by Major League Baseball.
On Thursday night, at MCU Park in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, Roulis will be the starting secondbaseman for the Hamptons division in the 2012 ACBL All-Star Game.
As a team leader for the Shelter Island Bucks, Roulis leads more than 300 players in the 17-team league with the highest batting average (.441) and most runs scored (33).
“He has my vote – hands down – as the (2012 Hamptons) player of the year,” said Shelter Island head coach Joe Burke. A switch hitting secondbaseman, Roulis “plays every inning, all his numbers are legit; no cheap hits. This guys is really hitting the baseball.”
Roulis, 19, a former MVP and and Catholic state , often recalls wise advice given by his father, William.
“Every day is a new opportunity to success and tomorrow is your chance to take it,” he said. “My dad says that to me all the time. It puts in perspective what I want to do. I want to work to be the best. That is my personal goal… I work as hard so that I have the feeling I am working harder than anyone else at that point in time.”
Roulis, who lives in New Hyde Park, is on track to break the Hamptons’ single-season record for highest batting average (.397). He batted .500 his senior year as a Flyer.
“I am happy (with my summer success), but not satisfied,” Roulis said. “You always want to get better.”
As he continues to smack hits from both sides of the plate, he maintains that he doesn’t focus on his stats.
“I try to pay no attention,” he said. “I am not fixated on that. I ignore the stats... I try to take every at bat one at a time. I have a mindset: I am going to battle and get whatever job needs to be done. My focus is to help my team, my teammates as a whole.”
The Bucks, a first-year team located on the North Fork, own a 18-13 overall record (through Sunday’s games) and appear likely to advance to the four-team 2012 Hamptons playoffs.
In addition to his lofty batting average, Roulis ranks second in the ACBL for base hits (49) and third for stolen bases (16).
“He is so smart mentally; so tough,” said Burke of the 5-10, 175-pound Roulis. “He is a small guy, but strong through the arms, the forearms. His best tool is his bat. He is, by far, the hardest worker on the team. Thomas is the kind of guy who comes in and doesn’t say a word and works his (rear) off."
Roulis, a member of the National Honor Society while attending Chaminade, said he placed a priority on academics over athletics when he selected a college. He chose to attend Ivy League Dartmouth, where baseball is often played in cold weather.
This past spring, as a freshman, he battted .257 for the Big Green and second on the team for RBI (32). At the end of the school year he joined the Shelter Island Bucks boosting his batting average by almost 200 points, while facing more talented pitchers.
“I am not surprised,” Roulis said. “I know I am capable of getting on base. I am staying on pitches better (this summer) and not pulling off my swings. My speed is a plus for me and I have always worked on my reflexes… I want to be seen as someone who is dedicated, respectful and hard working.”
Burke predicts Roulis will continue to improve.
“I will not be surprised if next year he hits .380 or .390 in college,” he said. “There is no doubt, he is a (pro) prospect.”
UPDATE: Roulis had a hit in the game, but the Wolff/Kaiser Division edged the Hamptons Division team 2-1.