Trevor Ankney and Bryce Eblin have never met one another, on the baseball field or otherwise.
But the two local standouts will have plenty of time to get acquainted with one another at the next level.
Ankney, a hard-throwing junior pitcher at Indian Creek, and Eblin, a sophomore shortstop at Center Grove, both recently gave verbal commitments to play college baseball at Purdue University.
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Both play for the Indiana Bulls travel program, but at different age levels.
Ankney, who posted a 2.45 ERA and struck out 65 batters in 40 innings during his sophomore season with the Braves, made his decision after speaking with coach Mark Wasikowski on a July visit.
“I talked to him about how his program’s going and how he wants to run things, and I honestly liked it a lot,” Ankney said. “We agreed on a lot of things, and so I just said, ‘I’m willing to commit, and I want to play for you.’”
Eblin, who batted .369 as a Trojans freshman with 22 runs scored and a .463 on-base percentage, raved about Wasikowski, a former Oregon, Arizona and Florida assistant who took the Boilermakers from 10-44 to 29-27 last spring in his first season at the helm.
“Everything is the coach, pretty much,” Eblin said. “Coach Was has been everywhere — he’s been West, South, he’s been everywhere. I think he can get me to the next level, and we can win games with him.”
For Ankney, whose fastball now tops out at 90 mph, another big draw was Purdue’s acclaimed engineering program; that’s likely the path of study he’ll pursue once he gets to West Lafayette.
“I’ve been in the garage with Dad ever since I was young, working on cars,” Ankney said.
Though both players still were early in the recruiting process when they committed, each had a number of other suitors. Ankney also had drawn interest from Cincinnati and Missouri, while Eblin was being pursued by Indiana, Indiana State and Murray State.
Having their college choices out of the way should greatly reduce the burden for both as they continue their high school careers.
“A lot of pressure was taken off,” Eblin said.