By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
TIPP CITY —Kenton Egbert was beginning to think his dream was coming to an end.
“I had always wanted to go the Division I (college) route,” said Egbert, a senior pitcher on the Tippecanoe baseball team. “That was my goal, but I was struggling to get looks. I started to think maybe I should set my sights lower and start looking at Division II and Division III schools.”
Despite a stellar junior season for the Red Devils last spring — and two years at Bethel prior to that — Egbert couldn’t grab the attention of Division I college coaches. All of that changed last summer, however, when Egbert — who typically pitches for the Gem City Classics in the summer — joined Tippecanoe High School coach Bruce Cahill’s select team, the Ohio Elite, for two tournaments.
Those two tournaments were all it took for Egbert to catch the attention of the Miami University coaching staff. Soon after they saw him pitch, they had him down to Oxford for a visit and were making him an offer. Two months ago, Egbert signed his letter of intent to pitch next year for the RedHawks.
“I was so excited; I was ecstatic,” Egbert said. “I was ready to commit on the spot. I was so happy.”
Not only would Egbert thrilled with the opportunity to pitch for a Division I program, but he also loved everything about the school on his official visit.
“I plan on majoring in engineering; they’ve got a really good engineering school,” he said. “I really liked the campus life. I liked how close everything is. It’s a really close-knit community. I really liked it there.”
Of course, there’s plenty of things about Egbert for the RedHawks to like, as well.
Last spring, Egbert saw action in eight games for the Red Devils, going 3-2 with a 1.93 earned run average, while striking out 36 batters. He earned All-Greater Western Ohio Conference American League special mention honors following the season. He also put up stellar numbers his first two years at Bethel.
“Getting him last year was a really nice addition to our team,” said Cahill, who played at Miami in his college days. “He’s a kid who came in and was willing to work right from the beginning. He’s a really good pitcher right now, but I think he’s still got a lot of potential to get even better. I think he’s going to go there and do really well.”
Egbert said that potential for improvement is one of the things Miami coaches liked most about him.
“They like my velocity and my projectability,” he said. “They like my three-quarter arm slot delivery and they said I have a lot of run on my fastball. I’m glad I have already committed, so I can relax now. This spring and summer, I’m going to focus more on fine-tuning things and trying to get better instead of always worrying about going out there and trying to impress someone.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong