Freeport pitcher Rape uses showcase to catch eye of Penn State, commits to Nittany Lions

Sunday, February 5, 2023 | 5:22 PM

A showcase in New Jersey in July changed the landscape of Freeport sophomore Dustin Rape’s baseball career.

It is where the left-handed pitcher hit 90 mph on a radar gun for the first time, and he caught the eye of some major Division-I baseball coaches, including Penn State assistant Dallas Burke.

Rape impressed Penn State enough to give him a full scholarship offer, and a visit to State College in January, helped seal his decision.

He committed to Penn State last Tuesday with three years remaining in his high school career.

“After I got the offer, I wanted to let it settle in for a bit, but when I went up there, they had a really nice coaching staff,” Rape said. “It’s great educationally as well. There’s a lot of resources up there, and if I get drafted after my third year, I can go back while I’m playing or when I’m done and still get my degree.

“I thought that was really cool, because not only can I further my (baseball) career, I can get that degree that I went there for. I also think that with the guys they are recruiting they will be dominating the Big Ten in the next few years.”

Rape credited his family and Freeport coach Ed Carr with helping guide him through the process.

“Coach Carr was very helpful with this decision,” Rape said. “He was really supportive. He knew a lot about Penn State, but he didn’t push me in any direction. My family was the same way. I have some family that went to Penn State. They gave me the pros, and there weren’t really any cons at all.

“They told me they love their football up there, and I look at that as a pro, because I love watching college football.”

The showcase Rape went to was the I-95 Metro Series at Trenton Thunder Ballpark. He played with his travel ball team, Hardcore Elite, which is based out of No Offseason in West Deer Township. Rape had gone to several showcases on his own volition before New Jersey, but this one was the first for him in front of major college programs.

“New Jersey was what really sparked everything for me,” Rape said.

Rape is a transfer from Deer Lakes to Freeport.

He saw limited varsity time as a freshman with the Lancers, but struck out 11 in one of his two starts, a nonsection game at Highlands.

Rape is excited for a new journey with the Yellowjackets.

“I’m really excited to play for Coach Carr,” Rape said. “My teammates there have been phenomenal. As soon as I walked into the school, I felt like I was accepted pretty quickly. They’ve pushed me to my limits to get better, and, hopefully, we’ll have a winning season.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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