Beaver hopes to show versatility
Zach Beaver, who graduated from Pickerington High School Central in the spring, recently signed a letter of intent to continue his baseball career at the University of Akron.
Despite the late date, however, he wasn't getting worried.
"No, I had a couple of schools lined up," Beaver said. "It all worked out."
Beaver, who said he also considered Ohio University, Tiffin and Ohio Dominican, became the third player from Central's 2012 team to sign with a Division I college, including fellow Akron recruit Evan Jensen. Nick Jensen-Clagg signed with Kent State, which advanced to this year's College World Series for the first time.
Also, Nick Ellis is going to get a chance to walk on at Toledo, Tigers coach Chick Campbell said last week, while classmate Avery Walker will play at Capital.
"I always tell everyone baseball is a funny game," said Campbell, whose team finished 16-11 overall with a 3-1 loss to Olentangy Orange in a Division I district final May 17 and went 9-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division to tie Pickerington North for third behind Grove City (11-0) and Gahanna (10-4). "The best team doesn't always win.
"We had a lot of talent this year, obviously, but we just never could get over the hump. We scored three runs in three tournament games and were fortunate to win two of them (defeating Mount Vernon 1-0 in the second round May 9 and New Albany 1-0 in a district semifinal May 15)."
Beaver, who pitched and played third base while batting cleanup, made first-team all-league and second-team all-district. The Zips recruited the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder to pitch.
"I'm going there to pitch, but they told me they might try moving me around, too. If they want me to play infield or somewhere, I'd jump on that," he said. "I played all nine positions at some point in high school, and with the varsity I played everything except center field and catcher. My versatility, I definitely see that as an advantage going up there."
Beaver's versatility at Central extended beyond baseball. He played every position except point guard for the state-championship basketball team, and as a tight end Beaver was one of nine senior starters for the football team that advanced to the state final.
"One of the recruiting tools we used to place him was that we told coaches he's never really been in baseball shape," Campbell said. "He'd go right into football coming out of summer baseball, then right into basketball and back to baseball again in the spring.
"As far as his baseball potential, we think the sky's the limit for Zach now that he'll finally be able to focus on one sport."
Beaver, who said he plans to major in business, is playing with Pickerington American Legion Post 283 this summer. Post 283 advanced to the state final a year ago and posted a program-best 42-5 record. The team got off to another strong start this season, winning its first 15 games.
"I'm definitely going to miss football and basketball," Beaver said. "But I feel like a baseball player, and now I've got a chance to go play just one sport. I'm really looking forward to it. It's a great opportunity for me."