Prep Baseball Report

Cheong 'Dream Comes True' With Commitment To Stanford

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Canada Senior Writer

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Cheong ‘Dream Comes True’ With Commitment To Stanford

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Philip Cheong SS / OF / Bill Crothers, ON / 2025

RICHMOND HILL, Ontario - After reclassification to a 2026, Philip Cheong had second thoughts that were proven right on Aug. 1.

“There were 23 Division I schools that contacted me,” Cheong related about the date when college coaches could reach out to those in the 2025 class.

A “Who’s Who” list included southern colleges like Kentucky, Duke, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia Tech. The other main school Cheong considered was Stanford, located where the Bill Crothers High School junior had not visited until taking a trip out west to see the Pac 12 Conference university in California.

“I had never been on the west coast so it was a new experience for me,” Cheong said of the five-hour flight that included seeing sights like San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and San Jose.

More importantly, the top-rated 2026 shortstop in Ontario prior to reclassifying back to 2025 found the college of his dreams at one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

“Stanford was the top choice for me,” explained Cheong, a 4.0 student who is considering following in his father’s footsteps in the field of engineering, though other options are also out there when it comes to picking a college major. “They have great academic programs and, being from an academic background, once Stanford reached out to me all eyes were on them.”

Interest from Stanford began not long ago according to Cheong.

“The whole process started at the Future Games,” Cheong noted. “I had a really good first day, I was Player of the Game, and I think Stanford followed me across the path at the Future Games from there.”

It did not take long to hear from Stanford once the day was reached to make contact with 2025 players.

“They called me at 9 a.m. on Aug. 1, 6 a.m. their time,” Cheong said. “We chatted and they said I should come check out the facilities. It’s high academics and high baseball. I ended up going to a prospect camp and did well. I checked out the facilities and the campus and they were awesome. It was everything I wanted in a school.”

It left no doubts that the decision to go back to the 2025 class was the right one for the 16-year-old.

“I reclassified as a 2026 to get more opportunities but reclassified back to 2025 when I started getting so much attention,” the third-ranked 2026 in Ontario explained.

The visit on Aug. 19 proved more than Cheong could imagine.

“I found out that Stanford was the home for me,” the 5-10 165-pounder related. “The coaches are super great guys and super humble. They’re old-school but also new-school. I fell in love with everything about the school.”

Cheong made an impression as well.

“They like my athleticism,” Cheong noted. “They feel I play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. I play with quickness. They said I played like Tommy Troy, who just got drafted (12th overall pick) out of Stanford. They like that I play with a lot of energy, play the game fast and try to be a monster on the basepaths.”

The idea of playing the sport of baseball after high school has been around for a number of years.

“College baseball has always been a dream of mine,” Cheong reflected. “I started playing baseball at age nine and always wanted to play at a high level. To see that dream come true is life changing.”

While the desire to play at the next level has been there for some time, the recruiting process only began this year.

“I started going to events like the Future Games,” Cheong said about what ignited his recruitment. “I balled out, I left my guts on the field and really gained attention from that. Stanford picked up on me and I drew interest from other schools. After Stanford offered I wanted to keep my options open so I let them play out, but after discussing it with my family and my agent and my consultant, I decided to commit to Stanford.”

An improved game helped Cheong get to the point of being a Power 5 conference commit.

“I’ve been trying to get in the weight room, eat right and work on my academics,” Cheong related. “I feel my power and speed all translated into games over the past two years and I turned on the jet. We have a gym at home that every night me and my brother (a pre-med student at McMaster University) work out until I faint.”

In addition to his parents, John and Julia, brother Daniel and sister Alexis, Cheong pointed to a number of others that were influential in his baseball journey - coaches Rob Butler, Rich Butler, JG Larocque, Corey Eckstein, Shawn Schaefer and Tim Smith; sports agent William Morris; and college consultant Joe Oliveria.

Cheong, who lives 30 minutes north of Toronto, is confident he can make an impact in the baseball program at Stanford.

“I’m a big team guy,” Cheong said. “I want to help teammates and myself create good energy for the team and produce, not just for myself, but for my teammates.”

While the future is bright, Cheong can’t help but reflect back on the offer, which came on Aug. 20, and the commitment, which he gave on Sept. 5.

“It was an unreal day,” Cheong concluded. “I had practice and Stanford called after practice to check in with me. That’s when I told them I decided to take the offer. I remember being so hyped. I went downstairs to work out in our gym. That’s when it hit me, my dream’s coming true.”

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