By MIKE PLANT
Daily Record Sports Writer
Blake Bellman, Northwestern's sure-handed shortstop, has been fielding offers along with baseballs this summer.
The three-time All-Daily Record first-teamer will be a senior this year and hopes to have his college selected sometime this fall. Bellman, whose Huskies have won Wayne County Athletic League championships twice in his three years on the varsity, has an impressive list of suitors.
Wednesday, he visited Kent State, the top baseball program in the Mid-American Conference. The Golden Flashes are in his top five, along with Ohio State, Arizona State, Cincinnati and Xavier.
"It's been nerve-wracking at times, but it's a pretty neat process that not many get to go through," said Bellman of his recruiting experience. "It's been fun.
"Right now, I'm just taking everything in. Eventually I'll sit down and talk with my family, talk about the schools, academics, figure out a major, then funnel it all down to one school."
While most of Bellman's possible destinations are in the Midwest, Arizona State became interested last summer when he played in the Junior Olympics in Arizona. "That's where some people saw me," Bellman said. "I also played on a national travel team out of Southern California, so I've played a lot out West."
A switch-hitter, Bellman hit .443 last season for Northwestern, with four home runs, 29 RBI and 40 runs scored. Hitting a baseball is what first sparked his interest in the game.
"At an early age I fell in love with hitting, then I started switch-hitting when I was 7 and just got better and better at it," Bellman said. "Then I started playing travel baseball and my whole family fell in love with it. Now, behind my house, my dad built me a 5,000-square foot indoor batting cage. I've really been blessed to have such great support from my parents (Larry and Cindy).
"Obviously, I've put a lot of time into hitting, and a lot of people have told me that that's what will get me into college."
Most of the schools looking at Bellman project him as a second or third baseman at the next level. "That probably fits me best," said Bellman, who said he's received several full-ride offers and at least partial scholarships to some of his favorites.
But he'll definitely be at shortstop next spring for the Huskies, when he's planning on helping his team back to the top of the WCAL.
"It would be nice to go out with a bang," Bellman said. "The goal every high school team has is to go to state. This will be the last time I get to play with my friends and we're very competitive, so we'd love to win the league and then go as far as we can in the tournament."
Bellman said he may return to play his senior year of basketball, and he gets away from everything by going hunting. He'll also spend a lot of time in the weight room.
Along the way, he'll zero in on the college he likes the best.
"I'm just looking for a good fit, and I think I'll know it when I find one," Bellman said.
"I haven't really set a date yet, I'll just finish out the summer and talk to some people," he added. "It'll be nice to know where I'm going, then I can have fun enjoying my senior year."
About as much fun as coaches at competing WCAL schools will have seeing Bellman graduate.
As the Buckeye Nine previously mentioned, the Buckeyes already have a verbal commitmet from 2010 recruit Tim Wetzel. After giving the current depth chart the Bucks will lose a lot of talent in 2010 due to graduation and the draft and will need to reload. Hopefully Bellman can join Wetzel in that process.