MAHOMET — Blake Wolters was the lone sophomore to earn News-Gazette All-Area baseball first-team recognition following the 2021 season.
Such an honor suggested his future on the diamond would be bright. His college decision only strengthened that idea.
The Mahomet-Seymour junior pitcher has verbally committed to Purdue, announcing his choice on Friday via Twitter.
“It’s always been kind of a dream of mine to play at the next level, and I’m really thankful for this great opportunity that I’ve received,” Wolters told The N-G, adding that he also held interest from Illinois and Saint Louis. “It takes a little bit of pressure off, but it also pushes me to still work a little bit harder because now there’s more of an expectation.”
Wolters missed out on his freshman season at M-S because of the COVID-19 pandemic but impressed as a 10th-grader.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound right-hander compiled a 5-2 record, 3.06 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched last spring for a Bulldogs squad that won a Class 3A regional championship.
Wolters felt even better about his summertime play with the Champaign-based Yard Goats travel team once the IHSA campaign concluded.
“I was making a lot of strides in velocity and just pitching in general, and that’s when ... I thought (playing Division I) could be a reality,” Wolters said. “I was working on a slider ... and just putting on a lot more weight.”
Wolters visited the Boilermakers’ West Lafayette, Ind., campus last weekend and met with Purdue coach Greg Goff.
“I was just blown away with the facilities and the hospitality,” Wolters said. “They liked my tall, projectable build, my arm slot and seeing that I’m taller, which gives me a little bit more potential to grow in the future.”
Wolters said M-S coach Nic DiFilippo sent video of Wolters’ pitching to Goff to open that relationship. Wolters credited DiFilippo, former Parkland pitcher Anthony Silkwood and Tuscola baseball coach Adam Carver for working with Wolters and helping him to this stage.
“I just thought it was a great fit, and I really liked what they’re building with their program,” Wolters said of the Boilermakers, who are seeking their first winning season since 2018. “It’s a place where I think I can develop and take myself to the next level.”
Wolters is the most recent local athlete to join Purdue’s roster since 2016 St. Joseph-Ogden alumnus Dalton Parker, a right-handed pitcher who completed his tenure with the Boilermakers in 2020.