Spotswood’s Ouderkirk committs to Mountaineers

The group of recent Division I pitchers out of Spotswood appears to have another one on the way.

SHS junior Daniel Ouderkirk announced last month via Twitter that he’s committed to play baseball at West Virginia University.

“I really liked the coaches and the campus. I thought that, after talking with my parents and listening to the coaches and seeing it all out there, they’re the best choice for me,” Ouderkirk said. “… I really like those guys and they expressed a lot of interest, and I felt like they believed in me. I think that’s one of the biggest things.”

Ouderkirk said he was also considering the University of Virginia, James Madison, East Carolina, Liberty and Cincinnati, among others.

West Virginia extended its scholarship offer to the 6-foot-9, 202-pound right-hander last month, Ouderkirk said.

“What I know is Daniel went there and was immediately comfortable with the coaching staff, with the school and the atmosphere,” fifth-year Spotswood coach Marcus

Davis said. “… When you walk on campus, you just get that feeling that you’re in the right place. That’s kind of the feeling he had.”

Entering this week, Ouderkirk was 2-2 in 18 1/3 innings pitched for the Blazers with a 2.67 earned-run average, 14 hits allowed, 16 walks and 35 strikeouts before a short relief appearance at HHS.

As a sophomore in 2016, Ouderkirk recorded three saves over 10 innings with a 1.40 ERA, four hits allowed, 13 strikeouts and three walks.

But as he developed into a starter for the Blazers this year, he’s built his fastball up to the verge of 90 mph, added a high-70s slider to his arsenal, and he’s currently working on a change-up.

Davis said Ouderkirk’s “live arm” and progression over the last year caught a lot of attention. basketball coaches, including

“He’s learning to be a “multiple” Division pitcher; not a thrower,” Davis I teams, such as George said. Mason, VMI and The Citadel.

Ouderkirk said WVU assistant Steve Sabins When the Spotswood has been the coach primarily coach was talking with colleges recruiting him about senior guard from the Mountaineers, and Millersville commit who are tied for second in James Sullivan, just about the Big 12 conference and all of them asked about had been ranked by both “that 6-9 guy” on his team, and Baseball Edwards added with a America. laugh.

“They’re in the Big 12, so But it’s hard to measure that’s enough said,” Davis how serious that interest said. “You don’t get much was, Edwards said, because better than that in terms of of Ouderkirk’s devotion baseball, so I think it’s defi to baseball and his nitely going to challenge honesty about preferring Daniel and I think he’s the to play baseball at the next rightmindset kid to handle level.

that challenge.” A member of the Richmond

Current JMU lefthander Braves, a showcase Tucker McCoy and Belmont travel team that Liskey southpaw Brandon and Nicely previously Liskey are 2014 and 2015 played for, Ouderkirk said Spotswood products, respectively. it was last summer that he prioritized college baseball

Austin Nicely, a 2013 over college basketball. SHS graduate, forfeited a “That’s when I found scholarship to play at Virginia I really, really love this and instead signed game, so I decided that,” with the Houston Astros, said Ouderkirk, who plans who made him a 10thround to play basketball again for pick of that year’s Edwards next winter and MLB Draft. major in engineering at

Davis added that Blazers WVU. senior shortstop Cameron “I was thinking about Irvine — whose father, maybe trying to play both, Daryl, is an SHS but I decided in the end assistant and former major that it’d be better for me leaguer — is taking recruiting just to play baseball.” visits to Virginia But Ouderkirk’s decision-Tech and William & Mary making might not be soon. done quite yet.

This past basketball season, Davis said he “definitely” Ouderkirk emerged as believes there’s a “ realistic a force for Chad Edwards’ chance” that Ouderkirk Blazers, the only Valley will be selected in the 2018 District player to average MLB Draft, which would a double-double per game. force the right-hander to

The All-3A West Region choose between playing at second-teamer put up 13.8 WVU or diving right into a points and 11.4 rebounds professional career. per game and tied for the “Right now, I just want district lead at 56 percent to focus on getting better,” shooting from the floor, Ouderkirk said, adding helping SHS reach a fifth straight state tournament.

Edwards said he’s proud of Spotswood’s track record with multi-sport athletes.

“I’m just really happy for him and proud of him,” Edwards said, calling his center one of the “most improved” players in the state. “Dan is one of the hardest-working, most dedicated guys that I’ve worked with. I’m very excited that his hard work has paid off in the form of a scholarship to West Virginia. That’s exciting.”

Edwards said he’s received plenty of inquiries about Ouderkirk from college he’s talked to a “couple” of pro scouts.

“If people think that it’s a good idea to get me that opportunity, I want to make sure that I do everything that I can to be ready for that, so I’m focused on getting better right now.”

Last June, Turner Ashby’s Brenan Hanifee chose to forgo a full ride to ECU and sign with the Baltimore Orioles, who drafted the pitcher in the fourth round.

Davis himself was a 22nd-round selection by the Montreal Expos in 2002 out of Luray High School, but instead elected to pitch at VCU and Memphis.

“We’ll see. This summer he’ll go out and he’ll parade around in front of those pro scouts and hopefully he can do something to impress some guys,” Davis said.

“I think Daniel really wants to go to college because he’s a super, super intelligent kid, but, I mean, who can turn down at least listening to what those guys have to say?”

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