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Jump In Velo Points Houghtaling To Baseball At Western


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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Jump In Velo Points Houghtaling To Baseball At Western

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Ethan Houghtaling

Class of 2021 / RHP

Player Information

  • Graduating Class: 2021
  • Primary Position: RHP
    Secondary Position: 3B
  • High School: Zeeland East
    State: MI
  • Summer Team: Lakeshore Rebels Baseball.
  • Height: 6-2
    Weight: 190lbs
  • Bat/Throw: L/R

Statistics

Pitching
88
Max FB
(02/03/20)
82 - 85
FB
(06/25/19)
74 - 75
CB
(06/25/19)
70 - 72
CH
(03/03/19)
Pitching
Max FB
88
FB
84 - 85
Pitching
Max FB
84
FB
82 - 84
CB
65 - 68
CH
70 - 72
Position
7.06
60-yard
(03/03/19)
79
INF Velo
(03/03/19)
90
Exit Velo
(03/03/19)
Position
60-yard
7.06
INF Velo
79
Exit Velo
90

Jump In Velo Points Houghtaling To Baseball At Western

ZEELAND - Self-observation a year ago helped Ethan Houghtaling recognize what is the best sport for his future.

“I’ve always wanted to play college sports,” Houghtaling related. “The goal my whole life has been to play college football. But then college baseball emerged.

“From my freshman to sophomore year I went from throwing 80 to 86. The drastic jump in miles per hour made me think I could play in college if I focused on it year ‘round.”

Interest from state schools soon picked up in the Zeeland East three-sport athlete.

“I went to the PBR Top Prospect Games at Eastern and that opened the doors for my recruitment,” Houghtaling reflected. “Before that I wasn’t getting any recognition from schools.”

There was a visit to Eastern Michigan and talk with Davenport, but Western Michigan became the college of choice.

“I went there for a camp and then I went there one more time for a visit,” the 42nd-rated 2021 in the state said.

The February visit helped immensely in the final decision.

“I watched a practice and I talked to some guys who are from close to where I’m from and that played against us in high school,” Houghtaling pointed out.

Any more travel thoughts were put on hold after that trip to Kalamazoo when COVID-19 came into the picture cancelling the 2020 season.

“With the situation we’re in with the virus you can’t do much,” Houghtaling said. “I talked to them two or three weeks ago and they offered.”

A left-handed hitting infielder, Houghtaling is now seen first as a pitcher when it comes to playing college baseball.

“They like how I hit, but the first year they want to see where I progress as a pitcher,” the 6-2 190-pounder said about Western Michigan. “Playing three sports, they’re excited to see where I can be when I’m focused just on baseball.”

Ironically, Houghtaling sees football as playing a big part in becoming the baseball player he is today.

“I play quarterback and feel that’s helped make my arm stronger,” Houghtaling noted. “I like playing three sports in high school. Each sport can train different muscles and it keeps me with friends and teammates. There’s nothing I’d rather do than play sports.”

But focusing on just one in the future has the right-handed pitcher intrigued with what he can accomplish.

“Throwing bullpens year ‘round, I can really improve my control and velocity,” Houghtaling predicted. “I still play in the field in high school but I realize when I play at the highest level possible that pitching is going to be my way to go. However, coach (Billy) Gernon said we’ll see where I land with two-way. He said weekday and non-conference games you can show yourself in the field and, hopefully, I can do that.”

It is on the mound, though, where Houghtaling is making a name thanks to recent improvement.

“My offspeed has gotten a lot better,” Houghtaling explained. “As a freshman I wasn’t confident in anything except my fastball. Now I can control everything. And with my velo jumping, if I’m in a jam I can throw it by people.”

Houghtaling points to his father, David, along with his high school coach Matt Sattler with being the biggest influences in his game.

“My dad has been working with me for as long as I can remember,’ Houghtaling said. “He’s pushed me to be my best. My high school coach believed in me my freshman year to pull me up and gave me confidence I belonged there then.”

Now Houghtaling looks forward to proving himself not far from home at Western Michigan.

“It’s an hour away and that was a factor,” Houghtaling said of the decision to go to the Mid-American Conference school. “It’s the closest Division I to my house so my parents can watch or if I want to go home I easily could.”

As for being part of the Western program, Houghtaling has high expectations.

“I feel I can bring intensity and bring hard work in the offseason,” Houghtaling noted. “On the field, hopefully I can contribute quickly.”

There was a lot to like when Houghtaling was last at the school.

“Coach Gernon made me feel like it would be a family environment, and I like that they hold players to high academic standards,” related Houghtaling, who had a 4.0 his last semester and is planning to major in business.

“This has all not really set in yet,” Houghtaling concluded. “It’s a big relief knowing I can go into my senior year and just play baseball and not worry about what college I’m going to go to. It’s a big weight off my shoulders.”