Any young man who plays baseball dreams of saying the words “I will be playing college baseball at…,” but for Drew Blakely, this dream will be realized.
“Ever since I’ve been nine or ten-years-old, I had dreams to follow in the footsteps of my father and play collegiate baseball,” said Virginia commit and Gull Lake catcher Drew Blakely.
His dream to play baseball came from a special place.
Inspired by his father, this little boy’s mind was set. He was determined to do just what his dad had done, play college baseball; however, there was only one destination in his mind.
“I first dreamed of going to Virginia when I saw them play in the College World Series in 2011. Throughout most of middle school and all of high school I dreamed of going to play there above anywhere else,” Blakely said.
Merely an eighth-grader at the time, Drew’s mind sparked. He knew in his heart, this was the place where he would play college baseball. Although he was only a sophomore when he verbally committed to Virginia, it did not come easy to him.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to have a chance to go play there due to how talented their team was so I worked incredibly hard and put my trust in the Lord. If He wanted me to go to play baseball there, the door would be opened,” Blakely said.
His work included training extensively in season and out, alongside playing Summer baseball. Blakely was determined to fulfill his dream.
Blakely was eventually given the opportunity to realize his dream.
“I’ve officially committed to play baseball at the University of Virginia!” he shouted.
Though he is officially committed, he continues to train and get better. One of the many things driving him to keep working is his determination to be great–just like his grandfather.
“My grandpa has been my biggest influence and role model in my athletics. He was All-State in three sports and lead his team to a state championship. I wear the number seven in honor of him and I’m trying to carry on his legacy for the family,” he said.
Carrying on the legacy may be an understatement for this talented young man. This past season, Blakely was named the Kalamazoo Gazette Baseball Player of the Year after posting an impressive .474 batting average with 36 Runs Batted In (RBI) and scoring 18 times.
When there is so much work put in, there has to be a support system.
“Without a doubt, my sister has been my biggest fan throughout my whole baseball journey,” he said. “Some siblings are dragged along to watch their brother or sister play but Elise has always been excited to love and support me through everything.”
This coming year, he looks to lead his team to the ultimate goal: a state championship. But, as he progresses through his career, state championships and college commitments may fade as the dream of a professional career in which he could find himself in front of 45,000 fans on a cool October night becomes more and more realistic.