Cory Wright’s cellphone went missing Monday, and the St. Charles North junior fretted that his phone might have been stolen.
On the bright side, Wright didn’t have to worry about missing any important correspondences from college recruiters. Wright made the final call on that matter Saturday.
While visiting Kansas State over the weekend, Wright offered the K-State baseball program his verbal commitment. A first baseman and left-handed pitcher for North, the Wildcats are primarily interested in him at first base, Wright said.
“The biggest kind of draw I thought was they’re in the Big 12,” Wright said. “They play Texas, TCU all those huge, southern schools. That baseball conference is pretty loaded. [Kansas State’s] whole kind of mentality and approach toward the game is grinding it out, hustling, and I feel that’s kind of my mold toward everything.”
The Wildcats’ recruiting interest in Wright – and eventual partial scholarship offer Saturday morning – affirmed what at the time was a somewhat painful decision.
Wright gave up North’s homecoming weekend this fall to trek to a fall tournament on Kansas State’s campus with his travel program, Elite Baseball Training. Wright performed well at the tournament, prompting an invitation from Wildcats coaches to return to Manhattan, Kan., for a recruiting visit.
“I was bummed until I heard that they wanted me [to come back for a visit],” Wright said. “I got over [homecoming] pretty quick.”
Wright was one of the top players for North’s varsity team as a sophomore last spring, although he wasn’t satisfied with his performance offensively. But Wright said he made great strides during the summer and through fall ball. This summer, he batted .380 with a .482 on-base percentage and .971 on-base plus slugging, according to a news release from the Elite program.
At 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, Wright recognizes he doesn’t have prototypical size for a slugging first baseman, but said his skill set has been compared to current Kansas State first baseman Shane Conlon, a 6-1, 185-pound Naperville Central product.
“I think my strength and power have gotten up,” Wright said. “I hit a lot of extra base hits this summer and fall, and in the spring, I wasn’t really doing that. I was more of a contact-type guy.”
Playing with Elite this fall meant giving up football. A wide receiver, Wright said opting not to play varsity football was a painful sacrifice.
“It was tough,” Wright said. “I had to talk to [North football coach Rob Pomazak] about it, and it was a tough decision to make because there’s nothing like Friday night lights. I miss my other family. It’s kind of tough to leave those guys but I just think it was the right thing to do this year.
“As far as next year, I have no idea if I’m going to play or not. The decision has not been made for yes or no for next year. Obviously, the desire to play is there, but I don’t know if that’s going to fit in for the future.”
Wright made several visits and seriously considered Ohio State and Missouri before opting to become the first member of K-State’s 2015 recruiting class. His older brother, K.C., plays collegiately at Judson University.
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.