Clever senior Bryce Wilson saw his college baseball dreams come true Wednesday afternoon when he signed his national letter of intent to play at Evangel University next year.
"I could never have imagined getting to play baseball in college," said Wilson. "It's honestly a dream come true."
What's even more impressive is that the 6'3" right handed Wilson was recruited on his pitching arm despite never toeing the rubber in a high school game until last fall.
"I like throwing hard and doing stuff you see on TV. It just hit me one day, and Coach (Justin) Snyder said maybe you should pitch some day."
Wilson split time between third base, shortstop and even catcher for last season's class two state third place Clever team, but got the idea to try pitching early in the summer. He attended the E-80 Showcase at Hammons Field and took his first shot at pitching since a brief little league stint.
"He went and did it. He hit 87 miles per hour, then 88, then 89," said Snyder. "His pitching career was born."
That alone was enough to gain the attention of college coaches, including Evangel head coach Lance Quessenberry. And while the Hammons Field radar gun may read a couple mph faster than others, Wilson continued to develop over the summer, closing games for his summer team before going 3-0 during the fall season.
"He's throwing a legit 88 mph," said Wilson. "And that's just the beginning. He's a blank slate."
And despite his lack of experience speed isn't Wilson's only pitching strength.
"He broke out some curve balls and one kid jumped out of the batters box," said Snyder.
Wilson, who earned All-Conference and All-District first team honors as a junior with a .330 batting average, will once again flex to several positions this spring, including his newfound spot on the mound.
"There's not very many small schools that can throw out two pitchers in the high 80's," said Snyder.