Silver Creek's Nick Iskra knows a thing or two about being a good teammate on top of being an exemplary student.
Selfless on and off the field, Iskra's dedication to his teammates and academics have landed him an academic scholarship and a roster spot with the Division II Gannon University Golden Knights' baseball team.
While playing summer ball for Eden Legion Post 880, Iskra received what turned out to be an opportunity of a lifetime.
Silver Creek’s Nick Iskra, center, signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Gannon University. Pictured with Iskra is his fall league coach, Charlie Karstedt, left, and his father, Tim Iskra, right.
Legion Post 880's coach, Gordy Karstedt, liked what he saw from Iskra and recommended him to his son, Charlie Karstedt, who coaches an 18U fall showcase team named the Full Circuit Power.
The Power consists of a handpicked group of players from Western New York and Canada who travel to play many of the area's junior colleges such as Jamestown Community College, Monroe Community College and Niagara County Community College.
"It's a select team. I don't really do tryouts for it," Charlie Karstedt said. "The players are hand-picked. You have to be highly recommended by someone I trust. It's a pretty competitive team."
Another team that the Power played during the fall season was Gannon University.
During a weekend double header against the Golden Knights, Charlie spoke to the Golden Knights' head coach, Nate Cocolin, between innings.
It was during that conversation that Charlie recommended Iskra.
Cocolin spent the rest of the game watching Iskra and the two kept in touch from that point on, which culminated in Iskra landing an offer to play Division II baseball.
"Honest to God, Nick was probably the best teammate a kid could ask for," Charlie Karstedt said. "He came on board with us with a group of probably 15 guys and 10 or 11 of those guys had played together for the last three years. It was a pretty tight-knit group and Nick came right in and fit in perfectly. He literally was a part of the family within a couple of days of being there."
For the past four seasons, Iskra has been a member of the Silver Creek Black Knights baseball team.
He immediately impressed the Black Knights' coach, Mike Janisch, with his baseball IQ and has continued to grow as a player during his time with the team.
"As a younger player, you couldn't believe what he knew about the game and he was willing to go out and work to make himself and the team better," Janisch said. "He has become a more confident teammate who is a very good supplement to (the other players around him)."
One aspect of Iskra's game that receives high praise is his work ethic and intelligence.
"Nick is a very enthusiastic, hard-working player," Janisch said. "He's very likable. Nick is a .300 hitter who is very heady in terms of his knowledge of the game. Rarely is he not in the right position to either make the play offensively or defensively."
It is no surprise that Iskra's hard work and intelligence has transferred so well from the classroom to the diamond.
Come next fall, Iskra will continue to apply that same dedication to the Golden Knights and, if history is any indicator of the future, he will also excel in the classroom during his time at Gannon University.
"I couldn't have recommended a better kid than Nick for any college program," Charlie Karstedt said. "He worked his tail off and is a great kid. He played anywhere I put him, never batted an eye if I asked him to play a different position than he was used to, and is just a good all-around kid. He's a real class act."