Dynamic duo swings their way to Bradley University


Anjiya Amlani

Baseball best friends: Beaming under the March sun, Cole Luckey (left) and George Korompilas (right) hold out their childhood baseball jerseys with their home varsity field behind them.

Skylar Kreske, asst. sports editor

Six years ago, two boys put on blue Diamond Instinct jerseys for the first time. Now, in six months, they will  be seen matching yet again, but this time in bright red jerseys playing for Bradley University, a Division I university. The Little League athletes turned college commits, George Korompilas and Cole Luckey, senior varsity baseball players, are excited to continue not only their baseball careers next fall, but their friendship as well.

Korompilas and Luckey first began playing T-ball early on their lives. Then at 12 years old, they both made the Diamond Instincts competitive travel team where they met each other for the first time. Both boys said that their friendship has benefitted their baseball careers.

“I got to pick up on Cole’s competitive nature and work ethic,” Korompilas said. “We became close, good teammates and looked out for each other. We have had a lot of good laughs in tournaments at Cooperstown, the Wisconsin Dells and Indiana.”

Likewise, Luckey reflected on the way Korompilas has inspired him as an athlete since they were children.

“I remember I always wanted to be as good as George Korompilas when I was younger,” Luckey said. “He was the biggest out there and I always wanted to hit the ball as far as George. He pushed me to be a great player on and off the field, he’s got a great attitude and is a good friend outside of baseball.”

The two continued their baseball career together with the Dawgz until they were 15 when Korompilas began playing travel baseball elsewhere. Luckey remained with the team until 18.

In high school, Steve Stanicek, varsity head coach, got to know the boys as they began to compete at a higher level. Stanicek speaks highly of  Korompilas and Luckey and explained the ways they have matured into the athletes they are today.

“Physically, Cole has turned into a dynamic athlete, he’s always been very skilled and he’s a good baseball player but [now], he’s bigger, faster and stronger,” Stanicek said. “His mental approach at the plate has matured more than his body and I think he is going to have a great year. George was always a big strong kid and he has improved defensively tremendously. His approach at the plate is also outstanding and I think they’re going to be one of the main reasons for our success this season.”

As they began playing for different travel teams, they both still pushed towards their goal of playing college ball at a Division I school. George credited his work ethic to this childhood dream and Cole feels the same way.

“I was ready to play anywhere, any division,” Luckey said. “Junior college, Division I, II or III—but like George said, Division I was my goal and my dream. Ever since I was a little kid I always wanted to go to a huge school and play against amazing players.”

Both boys put in the work to achieve their dream and get recruited by Bradley University. Korompilas’ recruitment process was less complicated than Luckey’s because he did not have to deal with the post-pandemic mayhem. Stanicek explained the difficulty of recruiting this year.

“It’s really impressive how they went out and marketed themselves during the Covid-19 recruiting year, it says a lot about their work ethic,” Stanicek said. “There weren’t a lot of games for coaches to go see kids play so this was something they earned on their own. I think this year, more than any, schools are looking for that quiet leadership, athletic performance, and work ethic that George and Cole have.”

The pair said they are excited to play and go to college together. They are looking forward to where their journey takes them in regards to their friendship and baseball career as well.

“George and I are on the same boat going into freshman year and it will be nice to have someone I feel comfortable talking to along this transition,” Luckey said. “College baseball is a big commitment where you can build great relationships and I got a good headstart with George.”