Prep Zone: Woodstock pitcher Alex Ferguson picks Minnesota-Duluth
Woodstock pitcher Alex Ferguson followed a standout high school season with a strong summer throwing for Pro Player Consultants 17U team, which got him plenty of notice.
Ferguson considered NCAA schools on all three levels and recently committed to Division II Minnesota-Duluth, where he will pitch next year on an athletic scholarship.
Ferguson was a Northwest Herald All-Area second-team selection last season and had his best game in the Class 3A Woodstock Regional opener when he struck out 14 Marian Central hitters in a two-hit 2-0 victory.
“I’ve always wanted to play college baseball. I started in travel ball with the [Woodstock] Lightning when I was 8 or 9,” said Ferguson, who visited Duluth in November. “That got me really into it, and this past high school season I had a pretty good year.”
Duluth saw Ferguson pitch for the Fox Valley Conference in the Stevenson Showcase, which was played in St. Charles in June. He continued to pitch well for Pro Player and landed a scholarship. He also was looking at D-I Western Michigan and D-III Augustana.
While Ferguson (6-foot, 150 pounds) is a baseball-first athlete, he also played golf for the Blue Streaks and starts at point guard in basketball. He trained at Pro Player Consultants in McHenry with coach Rachaad Stewart for several years and worked with coach Ken Raines last year.
“It’s awesome being able to go out and do something I love to do,” Ferguson said. “It’s a weight off your shoulders, and I’m so excited. It’s going to be great.”
Schmitt to Lake Forest: Crystal Lake Central guard Kelsey Schmitt, a 5-5 senior, has committed to play basketball at D-III Lake Forest College next year.
Schmitt was able to visit Lake Forest several times because it was so close.
“I liked the size of the school, it’s a beautiful campus and I really connected with the coach [Tamlyn Tills],” Schmitt said. “I really got along well with the team, too.”
Schmitt will join 6-1 freshman Brittany Avonts, from McHenry, with the Foresters.
“It’s been my dream since I was a child to play in college,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt led the Tigers in 3-pointers last season with 33, which tied for 10th among area players. She went to the IHSA Class 3A Three-Point Showdown state finals as a sophomore and plays travel basketball with the Kessel Heat.
Christakes to Chicago: Cary-Grove senior Dean Christakes, who plays several positions in baseball, will play at D-III University of Chicago next year.
Christakes committed to the Maroons this month.
“I really like the connection you get in the city, and the academics can’t be beaten there,” Christakes said. “I’m excited about it. When I visited, it just seemed like it really suited me.”
Christakes said he might be used in the infield or outfield and also was open to pitching for the Maroons. He owns a 4.0 GPA and ranks in the top 25 percent of C-G’s senior class.
“I wanted to play and make sure I had a good degree,” Christakes said. “Now I can couple that with great academics.”
Bostler to Indiana Tech: Senior Bailey Bostler, who played for Crystal Lake Central’s co-op golf team, will continue her career at NAIA Indiana Tech next year.
Bostler, who attends Crystal Lake South, helped the Tigers to a fifth-place finish in the Class AA Girls Golf State Meet this season.
Bostler shot an 89 and finished fourth for the Tigers at the Prairie Ridge Regional, which they won as a team. At the Guilford Sectional, she led Central with an 86, and the Tigers won that team title with 328 strokes, four better than Naperville North.
At state, Bostler tied for 67th with a 170 for 36 holes.
• Joe Stevenson is a senior sports writer for the Northwest Herald. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @nwh_JoePrepZone.