Matt McConnell already had his mind made up.
Baseball was something he was going to walk away from, as heartbreaking as that seemed.
But Harrison’s left-handed ace had a monstrous senior year and Division I programs took notice.
On Saturday, McConnell made the decision that he’d bypass attending Ohio University, instead choosing to continue his baseball career at Western Michigan University.
“It definitely wasn’t something that was easy to decide. I already had my mind made up that I was going to Ohio,” said McConnell, who plans to study engineering. “I enjoyed that (Western Michigan) had my major and it is something where I want to see what my maximum potential can be.”
As a senior, McConnell went 8-2 with a 1.92 earned run average, leading Harrison to a sectional championship, hitting .356 in the process, earning Journal & Courier Big School Player of the Year honors.
He officially concluded his high school career on Saturday, pitching one scoreless inning in the North’s victory over the South in the wooden bat game of the North/South All-Star Series before making the decision to accept Western Michigan’s scholarship offer.
Western Michigan, which competes in the Mid-American Conference, is coming off a season where the Broncos went 22-30.
McConnell started realizing playing Division I baseball was a possibility after massive improvements as a pitcher between his freshman and sophomore years.
He compiled a 14-5 record over his final two high school seasons, but developed more accuracy going into his final year, something that intrigued the Broncos.
“I think it is a fact I had a low ERA and that I had more strikeouts than innings pitched,” McConnell said of what interested Western Michigan. “I had 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. If it’s a lefty, all coaches love a lefty, you get the extra nudge because you’re left handed.”