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Schwab: Geneva baseball’s Brandys to play with ‘chip on my shoulder’ at Stetson

Created: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 5:31 a.m. CST

Matt Brandys might have more competitive fire for baseball games against Harvard than he would if he played for Princeton or Yale.

The Geneva senior pitcher planned to attend Harvard and play college baseball there until a falling-out in December between Harvard’s head coach and the assistant who had recruited him led to Brandys being brushed aside.

“It was my dream school,” Brandys said. “It really was. I loved it out there. I loved everything about it. I loved Boston. You really can’t do much better academically. But God works in mysterious ways.”

Brandys, a Wheaton Academy transfer, was so agitated about the situation, he swiftly turned his attention to programs that are on Harvard’s schedule in hopes of making the Crimson pay. Among those were Stetson (Fla.), and some back-and-forth communication with the Hatters’ coaching staff led to a partial scholarship offer on Thursday.

Brandys, who said his recruiting scenario seems like “kind of a fate thing going on right now,” accepted on the spot.

While Harvard carried major appeal to Brandys, there are pluses to the trade-off. Stetson is a much more highly regarded baseball program, with the weather in Florida lending itself to attracting high-caliber players.

“I wanted to go someplace where baseball was kind of the main sport and kind of beat up on [Harvard],” Brandys said. “Kind of go in with a chip on my shoulder.”

Brandys said he also considered smaller schools such as DePauw and Augustana, thinking he might be able to play both baseball and football at those schools. Stetson is relaunching its long dormant football program in 2013, so playing both for the Hatters isn’t out of the question.

Brandys expects to complete his Stetson paperwork within the next week. He has yet to visit the school but plans to do so next month, and said he’s excited about making his Vikings baseball debut this spring. He was a defensive back for Geneva’s football team in the fall.

College signings are a focal point this week. Both Batavia and Geneva will conduct signing ceremonies at their schools today.

Batavia’s will focus on a large pack of football seniors that will be moving on, led by tight end Cole Gardner who, as previously reported, has committed to Eastern Michigan. Alec Lyons, Noel Gaspari, Austin Lewis and Sean Oroni are among the other players who will discuss their college plans, according to Bulldogs coach Dennis Piron.

Geneva’s ceremony, meanwhile, will feature football players Matt Williams (Northern Illinois), Ben Rogers (Cornell) and Tyler Hickey (Davidson), girls soccer players Catherine Allon (Xavier), Kristin Rodriguez (Loyola) and Kailey Rote (Loyola, Md.) and volleyball player Ashleigh Shain (East Tennessee State).

Bobcat brawl: Geneva graduate Kat Yelle’s Ohio University women’s basketball team was in the news last week with a bench-clearing brawl during a Mid-American Conference game at Central Michigan.

A pair of players were ejected after the mid-game fight, which occurred between Ohio’s Porsha Harris and Central Michigan’s Jas’Mine Bracey.

As for Yelle, the freshman point guard isn’t in optimal fighting shape. She started 11 games for the Bobcats before suffering a season-ending ACL injury during a game in December in Las Vegas. Despite only having played in half of Ohio’s games, Yelle remains fourth on the team in assists and steals.

• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or jschwab@shawmedia.com.

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