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Patience Pays Off For Butler Commit Whiteside


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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Patience Pays Off For Butler Commit Whiteside

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Ben Whiteside

Class of 2021 / LHP

Player Information

  • Graduating Class: 2021
  • Primary Position: LHP
    Secondary Position: OF
  • High School: East Grand Rapids
    State: MI
  • Summer Team: GR Diamonds
  • Height: 6-5
    Weight: 190lbs
  • Bat/Throw: L/L

Statistics

Pitching
83
Max FB
(09/09/19)
81 - 82
FB
(09/09/19)
67 - 68
CB
(06/18/19)
71 - 73
CH
(06/18/19)
Pitching
Max FB
83
FB
81 - 82
Pitching
Max FB
80
FB
79 - 80
CB
67 - 68
CH
71 - 73
Position
7.00
60-yard
(09/09/19)
68
OF Velo
(06/18/19)
95
Exit Velo
(06/18/19)

Patience Pays Off For Butler Commit Whiteside

EAST GRAND RAPIDS - “Good things come to those who wait.”

That is how Ben Whiteside summed up his recruiting process after it came to an end with a commitment to Butler.

“If a lot of schools are not knocking, believe in yourself,” was the advice given by Whiteside. “If you put in the work, they’ll come.”

The East Grand Rapids High School senior had come to the realization that JUCO was the future path before Butler came into the picture during fall ball.

“I was looking at schools that were the right fit for me,” the seventh-ranked 2021 left-handed pitcher in Michigan reflected. “My travel head, Billy Peterson, reached out to their pitching coach and then I got in contact with him.”

Butler found the 6-5 190-pound southpaw to their liking.

“My resume in general,” Whiteside said about what Butler saw in him. “They liked how I took care of business in the classroom and my projectability as a left-handed arm. I’m gaining velocity.”

Still, it was far from easy with recruitment the way it is due to COVID-19.

“Word of mouth was really important in the process to gain credibility in me,” Whiteside pointed out. “Before covid, I was talking to MAC schools but after, in summer and fall, it was Western (Michigan), Davenport and Indiana Tech.

“What stayed with me was I was probably going JUCO before Butler. It was really stressful. It’s been like that in general with covid and all the kids, including me, that were uncommitted. A lot of kids with baseball commit early and I felt left out with schools cutting money (due to covid). But you just have to be patient and see where you fit in. If it lines up, it lines up.”

It certainly did with Butler.

“I feel I agreed with the philosophy in general with the pitching coach,” the 40th-rated senior in the state explained in reference to assistant coach Ben Norton. “I went to the campus and felt I was in a good spot. Being in a big city like that gives you plans after baseball. Personally, I could see myself there.”

The visit to the university in Indianapolis with his mother came two weeks after an offer was made.

“After I went there I called and told them I’m in,” Whiteside said of the commitment.

It meant the long-time dream of college baseball was becoming a reality.

“It’s always been in the back of my head,” Whiteside said of playing at the next level. “I find passion in baseball and taking lessons from it and applying it to life. I feel like I want to continue to do that. I can’t see myself not competing wherever I’m at in my life.”

An improved game admittedly helped the cause for the 17-year-old.

“I feel I’ve simplified me on the mound,” Whiteside explained. “In June I struggled a lot, walking a lot of people. I was in my head. I had to sit down and learn the strategy to forget about my last pitch. I stopped thinking and that helped my command.

“I joined a workout program and gained weight,” Whiteside added. “I was up to 84-85 with my velo and developed a change. Adding another pitch opened up my game.”

With an unweighted 4.0 GPA in high school, Whiteside looks forward to attending college four hours from home and what he can provide the Big East Conference program at Butler. 

“I feel I can bring leadership,” Whiteside noted. “Overall, I’m a good communicator. I try to be uncommon among people. I feel that brings the best out of people.”

Help along the way came from “too many to count” according to Whiteside.

“I have been surrounded with a lot of great coaches,” Whiteside related. “I feel it’s been a conglomerate of advice. And my family has been awesome.”

The same can be said of the feeling of being a Division I baseball commit to Butler.

“It’s been a long process, one I feel is long overdue,” Whiteside concluded. “It’s a great relief off my shoulders and a great ending.”