Ohio State Commit Brings Smile To Havrilla
October 7, 2021
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Ohio State Commit Brings Smile To Havrilla
CANFIELD - It was only a “few summers back” that A.J. Havrilla began to consider the idea of baseball after high school.
“I started thinking about playing in college when I was invited to the Future Games the first time,” reflected Havrilla, a two-time participant in the premier summer event for PBR. “That opened my eyes that college baseball was something I wanted to do. All the coaches and the great players there helped show me what it takes.”
The idea has turned into reality for the Canfield junior, with a commitment to Ohio State a month after the most recent Future Games.
“I grew up an Ohio State fan, they’ve always been my favorite,” related the second-rated 2023 third baseman in Ohio. “I think they knew about me through the Future Games and watching me there.
“Then a few weeks ago I played in a tournament and had a good weekend. After that I talked to the coaches and a week later they asked me to come on a visit,” continued Havrilla, whose only previous campus stops were for OSU football games. “I went and I knew immediately it was the right place for me. The coaches were awesome and the facilities amazing. It just felt like home.”
The 26th-ranked junior in the state credited the Future Games with helping make the Division I college baseball dream come true,
“Those players pushed me,” noted Havrilla, a member of Team Ohio the past two summers. “They’re all very talented and showed me the level I need to get. To be an Ohio State commit took a lot of hard work and grind.”
Havrilla made an impression with his performance this summer at the PBR Ohio Top Prospect Games as well as the Future Games.
“Continues to prove why he’s considered one of the top hit tools in the sophomore class,” Jordan Chiero, PBR Ohio Director of Scouting, said after the TPGs. “The combination of tools and aggressive nature make him a must see at-bat because you always feel like he’s extra bases waiting to happen.”
More accolades came after the Future Games. .
“Fun to watch in the box,” was one thing the PBR Ohio staff said about the 17-year-old. “He doesn’t get cheated up there, consistently trying to do damage. Middle of the lineup profile with corner skill set defensively that continues to progress in the right direction.”
Ohio State certainly liked what they saw in the 5-11 185-pounder.
“They said they like my hitting and the way I play the game the right way, hustling everywhere and making the routine plays,” Havrilla noted. “I’m just doing what I need to do.”
An offer from Youngstown State came more than a year ago, while Michigan State and Toledo are others that showed an interest in Havrilla, who pointed to recent improvement as beneficial in getting noticed by schools.
“I’m more in shape,” Havrilla noted. “I focused more on the weight room to get faster and stronger and I’ve let that correlate into my game.”
Coaches Brian Chad, Chris Check, Don Pletcher, Steve Leslie and Gary Knittle have all been influential in his baseball journey getting where it is today, according to Havrilla, with his parents, Rick and Stephanie, playing major roles.
“My parents have always been there, with my dad doing late night BP throwing whenever I wanted,” Havrilla explained.
A 4-0 student unsure of a college major, Havrilla is confident he can be a huge asset to the Ohio State program.
“Off the field I’ll be a good person that stays in shape in school and works hard,” Havrilla said. “On the field I’ll be someone at third base that makes the plays and is a good contributor. I’ll be a hitter that can go to all fields.”
Admittedly, the recruiting process was not always easy.
“It was definitely tough with Covid to get a feel for schools,” Havrilla explained. “But going to Ohio State on a visit was eye opening. To see the type of facilities there and everything they have, it was great to go and see it all.”
Making a commitment to become part of the OSU baseball program brought elation to Havrilla and his family once it became official.
“I didn’t take a smile off my face for two straight days,” Havrilla said. “My parents know how hard I’ve worked and gave their approval. To find a home feels so good. It’s all very exciting.”
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