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Ilitch D-I Baseball Dream Realized At Valpo


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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Ilitch D-I Baseball Dream Realized At Valpo

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Patrick Ilitch

Class of 2021 / C

Player Information

  • Graduating Class: 2021
  • Primary Position: C
    Secondary Position: OF
  • High School: University Liggett
    State: MI
  • Summer Team: Little Caesars Baseball Club
  • Height: 6-1
    Weight: 190lbs
  • Bat/Throw: R/R

Statistics

Position
6.87
60-yard
(07/07/20)
1.94 - 1.96
Pop Time
(01/26/19)
76
INF Velo
85
OF Velo
(07/07/20)
78
C Velo
(01/26/19)
94
Exit Velo
(07/07/20)
4.31
H-1st
Position
60-yard
6.87
Pop Time
2.05 - 2.09
OF Velo
85
C Velo
70
Exit Velo
94
Position
60-yard
7.23
Pop Time
2.02 - 2.1
C Velo
78
Exit Velo
93
Position
60-yard
7.37
Pop Time
2 - 2.08
OF Velo
84
Exit Velo
91
Position
60-yard
7.3
Pop Time
1.94 - 1.96
C Velo
78
Exit Velo
93
Trackman - Hitting
93.9
Exit Velocity (max)
(07/07/20)
87.0
Exit Velocity (avg)
(07/07/20)
155
Distance (avg)
(07/07/20)
290
Distance (max)
(07/07/20)
Trackman - Hitting
Exit Velocity (max)
93.9
Exit Velocity (avg)
87
Distance (avg)
155
Distance (max)
290
Hard Hit %
Line Drive %
Fly Ball %
Ground Ball %
Blast - Hitting
23.9
Hand Speed (max)
(07/07/20)
23.1
Hand Speed (avg)
(07/07/20)
75.7
Bat Speed (max)
(07/07/20)
71.8
Bat Speed (avg)
(07/07/20)
Blast - Hitting
Rot. Acc (max)
Rot. Acc (avg)
Hand Speed (max)
23.9
Hand Speed (avg)
23.1
Bat Speed (max)
75.7
Bat Speed (avg)
71.8
On Plane Eff (avg)

Ilitch D-I Baseball Dream Realized At Valpo

HARPER WOODS - The post-grad decision worked out well in the Division I baseball quest for Patrick Ilitch.

The 2020 University Liggett graduate, who now attends IMG Academy, has found a college home in Indiana on the ball diamond at Valparaiso.

“The end goal was to play at the Division I level,” Ilitch explained about his post-grad reasoning. “I was getting better before Covid, my 60 time had dropped almost a second, so I thought I needed to redo things. I thought one extra year of recruiting would help me obtain my goal of playing at the Division I level.”

That thinking proved correct for the 18-year-old from Harper Woods.

“With Covid, it was tough for schools to see me, so I sent Valpo a lot of video in late summer and early fall,” Ilitch explained. “They said they were looking for a defensive catcher that hits a little and can play a little outfield and I’m not slow.”

Georgetown, Wofford and Lafayette were other schools in the picture during a recruiting process that “definitely had its ups and downs” according to Ilitch.

“I was blessed to get an offer from Valparaiso, so after that I flew home to Michigan and went to the school and walked around the campus,” Ilitch reflected. “They’re renovating the field, it has a strong academic curriculum, the coaches have a lot of experience and they play in one of the top six conferences in the country.

“I really like the coaching staff and the competition they play,” Ilitch continued. “It’s been a goal since I was young to play Division I baseball and the campus is beautiful. I’ve always wanted to go to a smaller school. … so, I couldn’t help but take it.”

The 6-1 190-pounder has the tools that Valpo was in search of on the recruiting trail.

“They like my versatility, I can play anywhere in the outfield, I can catch and I can hit,” Ilitch noted. “Most catchers are slow of foot, but I’m 6.7 (in the 60) and they like that. They can see me playing outfield and catch.”

An improved game proved vital in helping Ilitch reach the D-I college baseball goal.

“At IMG I have a rigorous academic and athletic schedule,” Ilitch related. “We have practice every day and fall ball on the weekends. The coaches have a lot of experience. I see myself vastly improving and I’ve only been here two months.The catching coaches really help.”

Ilitch understands the need to continue getting better.

“With hitting, there is a lot of failure in it, so there’s a lot of room to improve there,” Ilitch explained. “I’ve been blessed with a very strong arm, but at the college level I’ll still need to increase my arm strength.”

Growing up in a sports family - his grandfather Mike Ilitch was owner of the Tigers and Red Wings - Ilitch had aspirations of playing athletics in college.

“My family’s a big hockey family but I’m not very good at that,” Ilitch admitted. “My dad (Thomas) played baseball in high school and my grandfather played in the minor leagues, so I took a crack at baseball, I worked hard and I’m happy where I am today.”

In addition to his father, Ilitch pointed to trainer Joe Neal at 2SP Sports in Madison Heights; Dominic Jarrett, catching coach who played at the University of Michigan; and Santiago Nessi, a former pro player who is the catching coach at IMG Academy, as being influential in his baseball journey that has Ilitch happy to have found a future home.

“It was very stressful but my family, friends and coaches helped me through it,” Ilitch said. “It was tough with (rosters of) schools full with all the seniors coming back (due to the virus), but I’m happy the way it ended up.

“It’s definitely a weight off my shoulders. I no longer have to figure out where I’m playing. Now I can focus on improving my game and not have to worry about schools. I think that will help me.”

Ilitch sees a lot to look forward to playing at the Missouri Valley Conference school.

“I think I’ll bring a solid bat to the lineup and have good chemistry with the pitchers,” Ilitch said. “I’m a defensive catcher that will play outfield when needed. I’m going to mold in well there and be the best teammate I can be.

“I can’t wait to experience being a good teammate and making all those memories,” Ilitch concluded. “I’m happy to fulfill that dream of playing at the highest level against the best opponents I can and I’m looking forward to fitting right in.”


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