JOSHUA — The Joshua Owls had four members of the varsity baseball team sign with collegiate programs on Monday.
Connery Peters signed with Wichita State University, Jesse Bolt signed with Labette College, and Wyatt Moss and Evan Nichols each signed with Ecclesia College.
“I know this is my first year but I’m very excited about what the future holds,” Joshua Coach David Sheppard said. “I’m excited to see these guys play their senior year this year; them and the rest of the guys. But this right here is the culmination of a lot of years, a lot of work, a lot of reps and a lot of lessons. I’m excited to see these guys in the future.”
Peters was highly sought after in his recruiting process as he received interest from more than 20 college programs before committing to Wichita State University in October 2017.
“To play baseball in college means I have a chance to get a good education and to continue to play the game I love,” Peters said. “I chose Wichita State because of the environment and energy surrounding the baseball staff and players there. They have a history of winning and I want to bring that tradition back to Eck Stadium.
“I’m most looking forward to meeting new people and developing my game and learning more about the science that is pitching.”
Peters, a right-handed pitcher whose fastball hits the low 90’s, had interest from other programs such as Houston, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and the University of the Incarnate Word, among others. He plays club ball with the Arlington A’s.
Peters (6-foot-6) went 3-1 in six appearances last season for the Owls as he earned second-team all-district and All-Johnson County honors. He had a 1.50 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings pitched. During his sophomore season, he went 2-0 with four saves and a 1.58 ERA. He struck out 26 in 26.2 innings pitched.
The Wichita State Shockers, located in Wichita, Kansas, are an NCAA Division I program that competes in the American Athletic Conference.
For Nichols and Moss, they will continue their baseball journeys together at Ecclesia College, located in Springdale, Arkansas.
“Going to play at the next level is great,” Nichols said. “It’s really just a dream come true. I always wanted to play at the collegiate level. There were some other schools that wanted me to come play for them but Ecclesia felt most like home.”
Nichols was a first-team selection on the all-district and All-Johnson County teams last season.
“It means a lot to me to sign, especially for my family,” Moss said. “They’ve always wanted me to go on and continue my education and play baseball at the next level. I like how small Ecclesia is. They have a good baseball program and good education.
“My coaches told me about Ecclesia. They said it’s a good school and the coaches there are really good and that they’ll help you through anything. I enjoyed my visit there. The coaches are really nice, the campus is easy to get around, and the baseball facility is pretty nice and located close to the campus.”
Moss, who was a second-team all-district and All-Johnson County selection in 2017, said having the chance to play collegiate baseball together is a bonus.
“I think it will be fun,” Moss said. “Also I think that it is going to be easier for me to go out of state for college knowing that my high school teammate and best friend is going with me. At first I didn’t know that Ecclesia was talking to him and when he told me, he said let’s go on a visit together, and after that we knew we knew that we were going together.
“It means a lot for all four of us to get to sign together because we can be an example to some of the younger guys after us who are looking to do the same.”
Ecclesia College is a four-year college that competes in the National Christian College Athletic Association.
When Bolt’s high school days are over, he will head to Parsons, Kansas, to join the Labette College Cardinals.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play at the next level and for me to accomplish that means the world,” Bolt said. “My summer coach, Paul Bartolucci, and several coaches got in contact with Labette and they came down here and watched me play, and that’s how I landed with them.”
Labette College is a two-year college that competes in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference.
It’s not every day a high school baseball program has four players sign to continue their athletic careers at the next level. And the players who signed have big hopes for their senior seasons with the Owls this year.
“The expectations … are that we should be one of the top teams in our district,” Nichols said. “The hopes are that we will make it to playoffs and make a run for a state championship.”
“For my senior year I expect us to go to the playoffs and not stop there,” Bolt said. “We’re a family here at Joshua and we play like one, too.”
Article written by Cleburne times Review.