The Columbus-to-Bloomington baseball pipeline is getting thick.
A little more than a week after Columbus North’s Parker Maddox committed to Indiana University, the Hoosiers secured a commitment from another Bull Dog pitcher. Right-hander Casper Clark plans to play for IU beginning in the 2020-21 school year.
“As a kid, I was a big IU fan in all sports and had all the IU clothes, the candy stripes,” Clark said. “When we were talking, and they offered, it took me everything I had not to just jump out and say ‘Yes’ immediately.
Clark just finished his freshman year at North. He went 5-1 with two saves and a 0.88 ERA in 32 innings pitched to help lead the Bull Dogs to sectional and regional titles and a berth in the final four in Class 4A.
Clark also batted .267 with a home run and six RBIs. But he was recruited as a pitcher.
IU had been recruiting Clark for about a year-and-a-half. He pitched a Fall Ball game on campus last year and recently took a visit.
“I took a tour of Bloomington and the campus, and I felt in awe,” Clark said. “It kind of felt like a dream. It was like traveling to your favorite destination. How could you say ‘No’ to that?”
Clark, who wants to be a physical therapist, is especially happy that his family can make the 45-minute drive to Bloomington to see him play.
“That’s huge, especially for them,” Clark said. “Most of the home games, they’ll be able to make it. Being IU fans, it’s awesome to go there because that’s where IU plays, but when you have a son on the team or a brother on the team, it makes it that much more exciting.”
Clark consistently threw in the 83-to-86 mph range this spring. He topped out at 88 mph while closing out a 7-6 sectional semifinal win against Columbus East.
This weekend, Clark is in Nashville, Tennessee, with his Evoshield Canes Midwest travel team. North teammates Grant Trinkle and Jakob Meyer also are on the squad.
Clark has some lofty goals for the next three high school seasons. He wants the Bull Dogs to get past where they did this season and to have the lowest ERA in the state, or at least the surrounding area.
With Maddox, who will be a junior, and Clark on the mound, North figures to have a solid 1-2 punch the next two years. Clark said he and Maddox had talked since Maddox committed to IU, but that he really didn’t need to be swayed.
“I wouldn’t say it affected my family’s decision,” Casper Clark said. “We had conversations, and he talked about how great it seems. But it didn’t take much talking to get me interested. We couldn’t ask for anything better than Indiana University.”
Name: Casper Clark
High school: Columbus North
Year: Will be a sophomore
Position: Pitcher/first base
Key stats: Went 5-1 with a 0.88 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 32 innings as a freshman
College choice: Indiana