Highlands’ Slepak gives baseball verbal commitment to Division I Mount St. Mary’s

Sunday, November 29, 2020 | 2:42 PM

The day after Thanksgiving, Highlands junior Jett Slepak gave thanks for the opportunity to make a verbal commitment to the baseball program at Division I Mount St. Mary’s.

“This is a great opportunity for me,” Slepak said of the Maryland school, which is a member of the Northeast Conference and the Eastern College Athletic Conference. “I’ve been dreaming of this ever since I was a little kid. It took a lot of hard work.”

Slepak said the all-around experience — the positives of the baseball program and a chance enter a course of study in physical therapy — made it a perfect fit.

“There are a lot of great guys in the program, and I got a chance to talk to a few of them,” Slepak said. “I know a couple of kids on my travel team who are going there. To have both the academics and athletics, it definitely was what I was looking for.”

Slepak said he also garnered interest from programs such as Maryland-Baltimore County, Pitt and East Carolina.

Slepak was hoping for a strong spring for him and his Golden Rams teammates, but the high school season was called off in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

As a freshman, Slepak appeared in all 22 games for Highlands. The right-handed pitcher and third baseman fashioned a 2-2 record with three saves in nine appearances to go with a .250 batting average. His 10 RBIs ranked second on the team.

Highlands finished the 2019 season 11-11 overall, 6-6 in Section 1-4A. It defeated Thomas Jefferson in the WPIAL first round before losing to eventual WPIAL champion and PIAA finalist Beaver in the quarterfinals.

Slepak earned the save against TJ.

The No. 14 Golden Rams were in the playoffs for the first time in 16 years.

“It was definitely frustrating not being able to play last spring,” Slepak said. “We all worked really hard in the offseason and were ready to do well. I was just looking forward to getting on the field, using my tools and helping us win games.”

Slepak got back on the field this summer and remained in action this fall in tournaments with his Maryland-based Mid-Atlantic Red Sox 17U travel team.

He said he hopes WPIAL baseball can return in March.

“We’re definitely excited,” Slepak said. “We have very good potential to win our section and go far in the playoffs. A lot of the guys are working really hard for that, and we’re starting to build our bond really early.”

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.


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