Borkovich gives verbal commitment to MSU baseball
And the Spartan coaching staff reciprocated with an athletic scholarship he couldn’t refuse.
Borkovich, who is a 17-year-old senior at Traverse City West, made a verbal commitment to the MSU baseball program after one visit to the East Lansing campus and athletic facilities. He plans to sign a letter of intent on Nov. 14.
“It was real tough choosing between all the schools, balancing the academic programs and their athletic traditions,” Borkovich said. “But it also helped that there’s a lot of MSU people in my family.
“Being a Spartan was kind of a goal of mine. It’s a great school, with great academics.”
“This is just one step, but it’s been my dream to play college baseball,” he said. “I don’t think it’s hit me yet.”
Borkovich, a 6-foot-5, 185 pound right-hander, helped the Titans to a 26-10 season last spring. He was 5-3 on the mound and had a 2.35 earned run average in 50-plus innings.
More impressive, however, was his emergence this summer playing for the Grand Rapids Diamonds. The 18-andunder Connie Mack travel team was coached by Bill Peterson, owner of the Diamonds Baseball Training Facility and a scout with the Colorado Rockies.
He was also invited to participate in the Chicago White Sox Area Code Workout in June where his fastball was clocked at 89 miles per hour. Borkovich is currently ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Class of 2013 by Michigan Baseball Prospects.
“I’ve been throwing well all year and this summer, I just stepped it up,” said Borkovich, who figures he added five MPH to his fastball. “It’s kind of a cliché, but the extra speed has come from hard work.”
“Walter certainly was a big piece of our successful season,” Peterson said. “The truth is that he pitched every big game and he was fantastic.
“His velocity took a big jump, but the thing I felt was most impressive was his competitiveness.
“There were days when he didn’t necessarily have his best stuff and command, but he was able to battle and grind and compete.”
The Diamonds reached the finals in every tournament they played in the summer.
“Walter matched up against the best teams every weekend and he always succeeded and gave us chance to win,” Peterson.
Peterson, who has 11 former Diamonds on the MSU roster, said Borkovich has a professional baseball type frame.
“Certainly his brightest days are ahead,” Peterson said. “He’s just scratching the surface of his future potential.
“We are really of having him. He was a blessing and a great teammate.”
Borkovich is the first Division 1 player Matt Bocian has had in five seasons at West.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic that Walter is getting this opportunity,” Bocian said. “It’s well-deserved and good for him and his family.
“It’s also good for the Traverse City community to produce a player that can play at the Division 1 level.”
While Bocian is pleased that Borkovich has picked up some speed over the summer, he knows the big hurler will be a marked man next spring.
“Once the news gets out that Walter is going to MSU, he’s going to have a target on his back,” Bocian said. “Teams in northern Michigan are going to want to beat him.”
Bocian said extra speed will help Borkovich.
“He’s a quiet kid who just gets out on the mound and throws,” Bocian said. “He’s definitely a competitor and he doesn’t want to lose.”
Borkovich, the son of Mike and Jennifer Borkovich, said his dad taught him a lot about the game of baseball. So did Jay Hook, a former pro baseball pitcher with the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds.
“He coached me a lot, from Little League to American Legion,” said Borkovich, who is also carrying a 3.85 grade point average. “And I can’t count the number of pitches we’ve thrown together.”
“Jennifer and I are really proud of Walter,” said Mike Borkovich, who will be the only candidate for Sheriff in the November election. “He’s been a good student, son and athlete.
“We’ve been very fortunate and blessed. He’s very driven and dedicated and loves baseball. This is a dream come true.”
Borkovich, who also plays basketball at West, spent his entire summer focusing on baseball. He’s not sure if he’ll play hoops this winter.
“I usually throw every other day,” said Borkovich said, who is sticking to a routine in preparation for fall travel ball.
But he is certainly looking forward to his senior year of baseball.
“I’m definitely looking forward to that,” he said. “Coach Matt and Kurt (Neveau) have helped me develop a lot as a player and so have my teammates.”
Borkovich is pleased to be headed to MSU. The Spartans are coming off 37-23 Big Ten co-championship season, including their first NCAA regional appearance in 33 years. The win total was the third highest in school history and the team ERA of 3.28 was third in the Big 10.