By Rob Kiser
From the time he got started youth baseball, Michael Ashcraft has worked to make himself a better player.
And the son of Vince and Susan Ashcraft had that hard work rewarded Tuesday when the Piqua High School senior signed his letter of intent to play baseball for UNOH (University of Northwestern Ohio) in Lima.
“It feels really good to know where I am going to be playing,” Ashcraft said. “It is good to have this decision made.”
Piqua baseball coach Brad Lavey said it is always a plus for the program to have players play at the next level.
“Not just kids in the high school program either,” Lavey said. “It is good for future players in junior high and even younger to see this.”
Lavey expects Ashcraft to have success at UNOH.
“He has really developed into a nice player and he just needs to keep building on that and see where it takes him,” Lavey said. “I think UNOH is a really good fit for him.”
Piqua American Legion Post 184 coach Justin Jennings said last summer was a big one for Ashcraft.
After batting .256 for Piqua last spring with five doubles, Ashcraft was the cleanup hitter for Post 184 and batted .333 with 14 doubles and 27 RBIs.
“This will be his third year playing for me,” Jennings said. “We plugged him into the fourth spot last year and he just kind of took off. He had a great summer and that is really when he started getting looks from the colleges.”
Ashcraft would agree with that assessment.
“Last summer was really big for me,” he said. “I had a really good summer and that is when colleges started seeing me and contacting me.”
And he said his college choice was an easy one.
“I went up there and visited to see the facilities,” Ashcraft said. “And I got to watch the camp they had going on. I like everyone and I just felt like I fit in with those guys. It is close to home and I feel like it is a place I can go and play right away.”
And he is looking to continues his success from last summer in his final spring wearing the Piqua High School uniform.
“For, sure,” he said. “I want to have a really god spring.”
After a day to celebrate hard work rewarded.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.