Plum baseball players make college decisions final
By: Michael Love
Monday, November 13, 2017 | 11:00 PM
Each year, the Plum High School baseball program has a knack for celebrating a number of seniors who will take their talents to the next level.
This year, five will continue their academic and baseball pursuits in college, and the group finalized their decisions last week at the start of the national letter of intent early signing period.
Ryan Kircher is an NCAA Division I signee at Kent State, while Logan Simmons (Cal Pa.), Markus Cestra (IUP) and Tanner Froehlich (Seton Hill) will join programs at the Division II level. Jackson Rogers will play at Division III national power La Roche.
“I am just thrilled for them,” Plum coach Carl Vollmer said. “These guys put in a lot of time and effort in high school, with their summer teams, in the fall. It's exciting to get to see them realize their dreams of playing college baseball. I am proud of the fact that I get to help facilitate that.”
Vollmer said he wasn't sure where this group of five ranks with past classes at Plum as far as numbers moving on to play in college. But, he said, it ranks high.
“This is something that not only the program rallies around, but the school and community can get behind as well,” Vollmer said. “The younger players see this, and it motivates them to work even harder to meet their goals.”
Kircher joins a Kent State program that captured the 2017 Mid-American Conference regular-season championship.
The Golden Flashes finished 27-18 overall, ended 18-6 in conference play and were 2-2 in the MAC tournament.
Kircher was sought after with scholarship offers from Division I programs all over the country, but, Vollmer said, he chose Kent State, in part, because of the coaching staff and their ability to develop pitchers.
“They have a deep history of getting guys drafted,” Vollmer said. “He really felt comfortable there.”
The Perfect Game scouting service has Kircher graded as a draftable player for June's Major League Baseball draft.
With the recruiting process behind them, Kircher, Cestra, Froehlich, Rogers and Simmons are able to concentrate fully on winter workouts in preparation for Plum's 2018 baseball season.
The Mustangs finished the 2017 campaign 7-3 in Section 2 of 6A, tied for second with Hempfield behind section champion Norwin (8-2). It was the first year of the expansion to six classes for high school baseball in the WPIAL and throughout the state.
Plum, which ended the season 14-7 overall, defeated Peters Township in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs before falling to eventual WPIAL champion Pine-Richland in the quarterfinals.
For his efforts, Cestra was named to the All-Section 2 second team as an outfielder.
“I am sure these guys will move forward with confidence because of what this program and their own experiences have taught them,” Vollmer said.