Drew Bachman grew up rooting for the Buckeyes along with the rest of his family, and his room is covered in Scarlet and Gray.
So it was an easy decision when the rising Lakota East High School senior received an offer to play college baseball at Ohio State University.
Bachman, a 6-foot-4 left-handed pitcher, took that night to “let it marinate,” then committed the next morning to verbally secure his future Wednesday. He becomes the Buckeyes’ fifth player from the Class of 2021 to commit, according to PerfectGame.org.
“I had a pretty good idea at the time they offered, but wanted to make sure I wasn’t running too high on my emotions,” Bachman said. “I wanted to sleep on it, but it’s my dream school so I knew. I really like the coaching staff. It’s a place I can become a better pitcher when I leave than when I come in. I feel like I will be a better person as well, not just a better pitcher.”
Bachman was expected to be one of the Thunderhawks’ top pitchers this spring before the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled sports for the rest of the school year in March. He had pitched 21.1 innings as a sophomore in 2019, going 3-3 with 35 strikeouts and a 2.65 ERA while throwing behind two older teammates.
The Hawks finished 21-6 (16-2 in the Greater Miami Conference) last year and this spring also would have featured Ohio State signee Nathan Haberthier, a right-handed pitcher who recently graduated.
“It stinks we didn’t get to play our season,” Bachman said. “I think we would have had the best pitching staff in the state as far as depth and all that. We just have to move forward but we would have been something special.”
The shutdown didn’t necessarily impact his recruiting process much, though.
According to Bachman, Ohio State scouts had planned to attend some of his high school games, which might have led to an earlier offer, but Bachman sent video of himself throwing as travel ball got back under way and the coaching staff had scouted him three times last summer before he strained his forearm in July. Apparently they had seen enough to extend an offer.
Bachman was also looking at other schools in the Big Ten, ACC and SEC and had offers from schools such as Indiana, Wright State, Xavier and Louisville.
“All the other schools were pretty much even except Ohio State,” Bachman said.
Now, Bachman considers the downtime this spring perhaps a “blessing in disguise” as he was able to strengthen his arm without overusing it too early.
After undergoing MRIs at Beacon Orthopedics last summer, Bachman learned he didn’t have any structure damage in his elbow, but the forearm strain was more of a “nagging injury,” and the time off might have helped prevent further injury.
“I probably would have thrown a lot of pitches early in the year, so maybe it was good to have the time off,” he said. “I would have loved to have a high school season, but it ended up working out.”
Bachman had physical therapy to help strengthen his shoulder after the injury and worked to correct some issues with his mechanics that might have played into how the problem started in the first place. Now his velocity has improved as a result. He went from throwing in the upper 80s and now is in the low 90s.
“From an adversity standpoint, it was a good thing because I worked on a lot of things and I’ve improved,” Bachman said.
Bachman spent the time off lifting weights three or four times a week and throwing almost every day. He is playing for Cincinnati Baseball Club Elite Red and has tournaments every weekend.
Ohio State will be setting up Zoom calls with the 2021 recruiting class in the future to talk about developing and what they need to do to come into college prepared. Bachman looks forward to his senior year at East and beyond, as he works toward dreams of playing professionally one day.
“I’m doing everything I can to accomplish those goals,” Bachman said. “Everything I do now is working toward that end goal to play in the big leagues.”
Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.