PDT Sports Writer
The Daily Times confirmed Friday that Piketon rising senior Zach Farmer verbally committed to the Ohio State baseball team.
“Since my sophomore year I’ve been really thinking on deciding where to go,” Farmer said.
Farmer, a left-handed pitcher, selected the Buckeyes over in-state rivals Kent State and Cincinnati partially because of the abundance of left handers as pitching coaches. He also fielded serious interest from Kentucky, Louisville, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL) and Oregon according to his high school coach, Gene Bumgardner, who agreed it was a banner day not only for the Farmer family but the Redstreak family as well.
“That’s kind of an understatement,” Bumgardner said. “You don’t get that opportunity everyday and he’s a young man that has worked very hard.”
Last season, Farmer was 10-4 with a 1.48 ERA, 178 strikeouts and helped lead Piketon to a 22-9 mark that included a Division III Regional Semifinal appearance before falling 3-0 to eventual state champion Wheelersburg.
Although he wants to repay the favor next season, Farmer is glad former Wheelersburg and MLB pitcher Josh Newman is on the Ohio State staff.
“It helps because he knows where I’m from and and he knows how we play baseball in Southern Ohio,” Farmer said. “It helps in some aspects.”
Because of NCAA regulations, Farmer cannot sign a National Letter of Intent until November. The next 12 months may get even more interesting for Farmer as some mock drafts project him as high as a low first round pick in next spring’s MLB First-Year Amateur Draft.
While the option of playing professionally is a year away at the earliest, the decision on schools was more in the forefront according to Bumgardner.
“He sat down and decided with his family that Ohio State was the best fit for him,” Bumgardner said. “We’re real happy and we’re excited about what (head coach Greg) Beals is doing at Ohio State.”
Equipped with a fastball that tops out in the low-to-mid 90 miles per hour range, Farmer also has a change up, curveball and a slider in his arsenal. Control is what Farmer feels is his biggest strength while body strength and getting used to the transition of playing at the next level are some things he will need to improve upon.
“It’s a big jump from high school to college,” Farmer said. “I really need to work out and get ready for college baseball.”
Farmer credits his father, Larry, as his biggest influence throughout his career.
“He’s helped me out since Day One, taking me out and (throwing) with me, teaching me how to pitch,” Farmer said. “Of course as a father, there comes the yelling so he keeps me in check, he always has.
“He’s really helped me out with the mental side of the game.”
Among his coaches, Farmer believes pitching coach Corey White — also a left-hander — has contributed to his success. White pitched at Scioto Valley Conference rival Unioto as well as Division III Otterbein University and at age 24, has been able to relate more than some of the older coaches.
One of the biggest things Bumgardner has noticed in the southpaw’s three years has been his development beyond the mound.
“Zach has grown up over the past three years with us and become a more complete player than just a pitcher,” Bumgardner said. “I look at what he did at the plate as much as he did on the mound to help us keep the success that we’ve become in the short four years that I’ve been at Piketon.”
While his arm is being praised, Farmer also believes people should not fall asleep as to what he can do with the bat. In his junior campaign, he maintained a .519 batting average with 39 runs batted in, 11 intentional walks, 11 triples, 11 stolen bases, six doubles and two home runs.
His batting numbers really pop out during the summer as he plays for the Cincinnati Flames, a select traveling baseball team. He says the best competition comes from teams in the south where the warmer climate allows baseball to be played all year.
It’s in those games in which Farmer feels he gains the most and proves the most.
“In the summer, nobody really knows me,” Farmer said. “When I pitch, they think I’m just a pitcher. Then when I get up to bat, I shock them because I can hit a little bit.”
Farmer has also been invited to participate in the Perfect Game National Showcase as well as the Under Armour National Showcase.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or email@example.com.