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Pine Creek's Biechler commits to Wichita State's baseball program
Reagan Biechler's Division I commitment is the latest for area athletes in the class of 2013. TCA kicker Daniel Carlson has committed to Auburn, TCA volleyball player Claire Felix has committed to UCLA, Pine Creek volleyball player Simmone Collins chose Notre Dame and Widefield basketball player Alan Herndon has committed to Wyoming.
More will surely follow, including Pine Creek defensive lineman Dalton Fields. Fields has narrowed his search to CSU and Wyoming as of now.
For years, Reagan Biechler had to explain that, yes, he played for a traveling baseball team called the Shockers, but no, the squad wasn’t affiliated in any way with Wichita State.
Well, look how things turned out.
On Wednesday morning, Biechler accepted a scholarship offer from Wichita State coach Gene Stephenson that will officially make him a Shocker in the fall of 2013.
“Everyone always asked us why our team was called the Shockers,” said Biechler, who is about to start his senior year at Pine Creek. “But that’s really all I knew about the program was the name.”
The crash course the left-handed pitcher has received on Wichita State since the school first made contact with him this past winter was enough to convince Biechler to accept the offer the day after it was made.
He learned quickly about a past that includes Joe Carter, Casey Blake, Darren Dreifort and Braden Looper, the 1989 College World Series championship and the status as the nation’s second-winningest program (behind Florida State) since 1980.
All of this has taken place under Stephenson and pitching coach Brent Kemnitz. It was Kemnitz who led the charge on Biechler’s recruiting, following him to tournaments this summer in Colorado, Utah and Texas.
This week, when Biechler was at a prospect camp on Wichita State’s campus, Kemnitz was there when Stephenson pulled Biechler into his office during a game and made the offer.
“I had a couple offers from a few other schools, so I gave it a lot of thought,” Biechler said. “I went back to the hotel, talked to my parents and I just felt this was the right school for me.”
Kemnitz was a big part of that, as he has produced nearly two dozen All-Americans and 14 pitchers who have thrown in the major leagues.
That’s a path Biechler, who touched 89 mph at the camp with his fastball, would like to follow.
“He’s one of the best pitching coaches in the nation,” Biechler said. “He’s a guy who can help me get where I want to be.”
Biechler is coming off a junior season in which he went 5-2 with a 1.69 ERA and 64 strikeouts and 15 walks in 41 1/3 innings for the Eagles, who went 20-4.
Biechler also batted .354 with four home runs and 27 RBIs in 24 games.
He served as the team’s co-ace, joining state Player of the Year Ryan Warner, who was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in June and is pitching for Grand Junction in the Rookie League.
Biechler may well join Warner in the professional ranks one day, but for now he’s just happy to have an enormous decision behind him.
“It is a very big weight off my shoulders,” he said. “Now I can just relax, have fun and enjoy my senior season.”