The Virginia Cavaliers won the Casey Saucke II sweepstakes when they received a verbal commitment from the Greece Athena (Rochester, N.Y.) sophomore on Oct. 29.
Saucke’s pledge concluded a whirlwind recruitment that saw Power 5 schools such as Mississippi State, Clemson, Duke and Miami vying for his services.
“One of the biggest reasons for me was the coaching staff,” Saucke said. “I’ve been talking to Virginia for a while now. I feel like I have a very good bond with the coaches there. The baseball program is very good.
“I like how they carry themselves and the success that they’re having recently. Those were definitely the two biggest factors for me.”
The Cavaliers have made the NCAA tournament for 13 consecutive years. In 2015, Virginia won the College World Series after finishing as runner-up the year prior.
Saucke’s other suitors made life tough on Virginia. There wasn’t a specific moment that he and his family knew he wanted to be a Cavalier. Instead, it came down to Virginia continuing to outwork some of its ACC rivals.
Miami, Clemson and Virginia “were his top three and that’s who we honed in on. It was a very tough choice, because obviously all three are prime schools. That’s why there wasn’t just that magical moment, because of those top three. It was really hard,” Saucke’s mother Laurie said.
“We had taken the approach early on as folks were showing interest, that we really wanted Casey to have the opportunity to speak to the coaching staff and visit these schools. We wanted him to get to know the programs, and that’s why when he picked Virginia it was very exciting because it was the end of a long and great process for him,” Saucke’s father, Casey Saucke Sr., said.
Committed to Virginia let’s go baby!🔹🔸 Go Hoos!!!
— casey saucke (@CaseySaucke) November 1, 2018
Saucke Sr. was a standout baseball player in his own right at Churchville-Chili and Le Moyne College. He played in the Baltimore Orioles’ farm system from 2000-02.
It was no surprise for Saucke II’s high school coach Jason Bunting to see him reach this point. Bunting had heard of his talent when he was just a middle schooler.
“In sixth grade I first heard about him because he was in some type of home run contest at Yankee Stadium. Then, in seventh grade he tried out for the Mod-B team and I was like ‘Wow, he’s kind of special,'” Bunting said.
“In eighth grade he should’ve been on varsity, but I was way too gun-shy. He did so well in his eighth-grade year that midway through it, he was the first kid in nearly 20 years to be called up to varsity. This is a kid that has been kind of special from day one and he passes the eye test.”
Read the full article at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle