With several weeks left of his junior season, New London pitcher Peyton Wilson didn’t see the point in waiting any longer.
The right-handed Wilson gave a verbal commitment to continue his baseball career as an NCAA Division I pitcher at Bowling Green State University from the Mid-American Conference.
“I just really liked what they had to offer,” Wilson said of Bowling Green. “I think that it’s the best fit for me. The culture of the baseball program is really growing, and it’s a great school in general.”
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Wilson also cited Kyle Hallock, a 2007 Perkins graduate and former MAC Pitcher of the Year at Kent State, as a huge influence. Hallock is the pitching coach for the Falcons.
“I liked him a lot, and I knew a little bit about his background from Kent where he learned from one of the best (Mike Birkbeck),” Wilson said. “He’s very knowledgeable. My summer coach (Adrian Abrahamowicz) helped in communicating with him and meeting him on the visit.”
Hallock was also in attendance on April 8 for an instant classic Firelands Conference game at South Central. Wilson was facing off with South Central standout pitcher Isaiah Seidel, who is also a teammate of his on the Lake Erie Warhawks summer travel team.
An All-Ohio first team selection in Div. IV, Seidel struck out 19 batters of the 21 outs he recorded. Wilson countered with 13 strikeouts while allowing two hits.
The two standouts combined for 32 strikeouts of the 42 outs recorded.
And though the Wildcats lost in walk-off fashion, 4-3, it was Wilson who was one of the rare few to get contact off Seidel this season. He crushed a three-run home run to left-center field in the sixth inning of the loss.
“It was a fun day,” Wilson said of the game that had five college scouts in attendance. “Isaiah and I being summer teammates, there was a little extra riding on that game. Bragging rights over one another … we both just had the adrenaline pumping.
“Every time he’d go out and strike guys out, I’d try and do better than him,” he added. “We just got to the point where they beat us at the end.”
According to the Prep Baseball Report, Wilson is the No. 23-ranked pitcher in Ohio for the Class of 2020 — and 56th overall in the state. He has topped out at 87 mph with his fastball this year.
The New London baseball program is no stranger to producing MAC pitchers. Former Wildcat teammate Ryan Lane, a 2017 grad, is at Kent State. Prior to him, Corey Chaffins (2007) pitched at Eastern Michigan.
Not bad for a small village of 2,380 in the Southeast corner of Huron County.
“It means a lot to me. I’ve worked hard for it, but it just means more because small kids and high kids look at me as an example to them,” Wilson said. “How i play is how they want to play — so it does mean a little bit more.
“My goal was to always go D1 growing up,” he added. “I wasn’t sure if I would project as a pitcher or hitter after my freshman year of high school. But last year as a sophomore I took a big step forward pitching-wise. That’s when it really started clicking for me that this was a real possibility.”
The Wildcats finished 11-9 this season (8-6 FC) with Wilson playing a huge role in a team that had many new faces.
On the mound, Wilson was 5-3 for the Wildcats and had a 1.43 ERA. He finished with 90 strikeouts and 15 walks in 49 innings. Wilson also batted .397 with three home runs and 16 RBIs. For his efforts, he was first team both All-FC and Div. III District 9.
“I’d give myself a B-plus grade this season,” Wilson said. “Because pitching-wise, I didn’t execute as many pitches as I’d like. I struggled at times with efficiency, but by the end of the season I did better. Hitting-wise, I was pleased — whenever I got to see pitches.
“I think we had a pretty good season, all things considered,” added Wilson, who will also play football this coming fall as a senior for the ‘Cats. “We had a winning record while playing a bunch of kids that hadn’t played in a few years. We got them acclimated to high school baseball, which was a step in the process.”