Regardless of level, local athletes who move on from high school to compete in college athletics should be recognized.
Statistics show that in baseball, only about 7 percent of those who played the sport in high school continue to do so in college.
Here’s a roundup of former high school baseball players from this area who are competing this spring for various colleges and universities.
In NCAA Division I, two Columbia High School graduates are pitching.
Shane Wilhelm, a junior righthander at the University of Missouri, has allowed one unearned run in an inning pitched.
Jackson Holmes, a 6-foot-4 freshman righty at Saint Louis University, is 1-1 with a 7.91 ERA in 12 appearances (two starts) for the Billikens. He has 14 strikeouts in 19 and one-third innings pitched.
There are several locals playing in NCAA Division II this season.
The University of Central Missouri is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in Division II, and CHS grad Brennen van Breusegen is a big reason why. The redshirt sophomore outfielder has been named Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Hitter of the Week two straight times and was just named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association NCAA Division II National Hitter of the Week. For the season, van Breusegen is hitting .462 in 29 games with 37 runs, nine home runs and 44 RBIs with the Mules (33-4).
At Maryville University, Valmeyer High School graduate Philip Reinhardt and Waterloo High School grad Drake Downing are members of the pitching staff. Reinhardt, a redshirt freshman lefthander, has made 14 appearances covering 23 and one-third innings. He has a 4.24 ERA and two saves to go along with 18 strikeouts. Downing is 1-0 with a 5.29 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 10 appearances covering 17 innings.
At McKendree University, Gibault grad Mark Branz is firing fastballs again. The 6-foot-1 sophomore righthander is 3-0 with three saves and 18 strikeouts in 15 appearances (19 and one-third innings) with a 6.98 ERA. His teammate is Austin Francis of Dupo. Francis, a redshirt junior catcher, is hitting .232 in 31 games with nine home runs, 21 RBIs and 17 runs.
At Quincy University, Gibault grad Tim Reinholz, a 6-foot-3 lefty, has pitched two scoreless innings.
The NCAA Division III level features a few former high school diamond dandies.
At Fontbonne University, Waterloo twins Ty and Trey Kueper are performing well in their junior seasons. Trey, a catcher, is hitting .410 with 13 RBIs and 15 runs in 17 games. Ty, an infielder, is hitting .345 with 11 RBIs and 18 runs in 24 games.
Webster University is ranked 12th in the nation, and one of its players is a CHS grad. Mitch Daniels, a junior outfielder, is hitting .268 with six RBIs in 23 games for the Gorloks (21-5).
At Greenville University, George Schneider of New Athens has three hits and an RBI in nine games played.
In NAIA baseball, former Valmeyer Pirates hitting legend Easton Wallace is enjoying his senior season at William Woods University. Wallace is hitting .312 with two home runs and 15 RBIs in 24 games.
The junior college ranks are chock full of local talent.
At Southwestern Illinois College, VHS grad Jacob Rowold joins CHS grads Adam Wibbenmeyer, Jonah James and Sam Bonaldi on the roster. Rowold, an outfielder, is hitting .303 with five home runs, 24 RBIs and 20 runs in 33 games. Wibbenmeyer, a righthanded pitcher, is 5-0 with a 2.40 ERA and 38 strikeouts over 30 innings in 12 total appearances. James, an infielder, has five hits and two runs in 18 games. Bonaldi, an outfielder, is hitting .222 with six runs in 12 games. Also playing at SWIC is Joe Range of New Athens, a righthanded pitcher, who has five strikeouts over four and two-thirds innings.
At Iowa Western Community College, WHS grad Marcus Heusohn is turning some heads. The freshman first baseman/outfielder is hitting .439 with three home runs, 16 RBIs and 15 runs in 17 games.
Two more locals are playing ball at Southeastern Illinois College. WHS grad Nathan Albrecht is hitting .238 with seven runs in seven games. Cole Steibel of Prairie du Rocher is hitting .487 with 10 RBIs and 14 runs in 13 games.