COLUMBIANA - Crestview junior lefthander Mike McDonough still has two years remaining in his high school career, but he already knows where he will be pitching in college.
McDonough verbally committed to continue his baseball career at Ohio State University earlier this summer, completing a recruiting process that lasted a mere few months.
"Ohio State has always been a dream school for me, I love everything about the campus," McDonough said. "The coaches have created a real family atmosphere and the facilities down there are great. I'm looking forward to playing baseball and getting an education there."
McDonough, who is currently pitching in Florida with a traveling team, was still feeling a little overwhelmed with how fast everything came together.
His first contact with the Buckeyes came late last season when Ohio State assistant Chris Holick phoned Crestview High School. McDonough got an official offer in June when he struck out four during a scouting showcase put on by Prep Baseball Report.
"Each pitcher only got to face six batters," McDonough said. "There were a bunch of scouts there and I just tried to block everything out and focus. I was blown away when they made me an offer."
Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, Indiana and Kent State had also been in contact with McDonough. He said he was not at liberty to say what type of scholarship offer he received from the Buckeyes.
"I'm just excited that I'll have an opportunity to compete at that level," McDonough said. "Coming into high school, I expected to eventually get some Division II and low-level Division I offers, but I never thought I would get an offer from a Big Ten school."
McDonough plans to study Sport Industry at Ohio State and pursue a career in journalism when his playing days are through.
"I've always been a big sports fan," McDonough said. "I briefly played basketball, but I gave it up to focus only on baseball. I like all sports though"
McDonough can attribute the offer to his strong sophomore campaign at Crestview as well as the potential that he will develop further.
He was the ace of a young Rebel team last season, going 4-2 with a 1.89 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings pitched. The highlight came when he set a school record with 19 strikeouts against Salem on April 26.
"I rely mostly on my fastball, which tops out at 89 miles per hour," McDonough said. "I also throw a changeup and curveball. By the time I graduate, I hope to reach 94. I am also working hard at developing a slider this offseason. The biggest thing will be hitting the weight room these next couple of years so I can add some fastball velocity. Mechanically, I fell I am already very sound."
For the last four years, McDonough has worked hard during the offseason with Jack Kucek from Canfield, who made 12 starts in the major leagues for the White Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays from 1974-80 and now gives private pitching lessons.
"He's taught me everything I know mechanically," McDonough said. "I've been getting better every year since we started working together. "Him and my parents are where all the credit goes for my success."
The scrutiny will ramp up on McDonough these next two years, but he is excited for the challenge.
"My mentality doesn't change," McDonough said. "I'll just be trying to use each start as a chance to improve myself and give our team a chance to win. I was the focus of other teams last season too, so I am used to it. I'm excited about the guys we have coming back. I think we'll be pretty good."