Drafted by the Kansas City Royals, Tommy Szczepanski chose Virginia Tech

ESSEXVILLE, MI – Pro ball should be protected.

Tommy Szczepanski has other plans. Big ones.

Essexville standout Garber and the 19th round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals is currently passing on professional baseball and is instead committing to Virginia Tech University and a Division 1 college baseball program.

“I spent the last two weeks visiting universities and exploring academic and baseball opportunities,” Szczepanski said. “I am excited that Virginia Tech is giving me the opportunity to compete at a high level in the classroom and on the field.

“My new goals are to continue to grow, help Virginia Tech repeat as ACC League champions and compete for a national championship, and ultimately prepare myself for the 2024 Major League Draft.”

Virginia Tech is coming off a banner 2021 season under head coach John Czefsi. The Hokies were ranked 4th in the nation, captured the Atlantic Coast Conference crown and reached the NCAA Division I Super Regional, falling one game shy of the College World Series.

They had two players selected in the 2022 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.

Szczepanski, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound right-handed pitcher, was selected by the Royals in the 19th round but did not sign. He said he discussed his baseball future with parents Missy and Tom Szepanski and decided against making the jump to the professional ranks.

“It was my goal coming out of high school,” he said. “We’re not running around with financial numbers. The Royals didn’t get it. So, I’m going to skip professional baseball for now and go to college.

Virginia Tech lands No. 6-ranked prospect in Michigan, based on a perfect game. Szczepanski possesses a 96 mph fastball and an effective breaking ball, making him a valuable player for any program.

Originally committed to the University of Michigan, Eric Bakich changed course in June when he left the Wolverines to become the head coach at Clemson. Since then, Szczepanski said he’s been contacted by several schools across the country, but has settled on Virginia Tech.

“I really appreciate the schools that are in different conferences,” he said. “I had the opportunity to speak with many great coaches, visit amazing programs and facilities. This was a very difficult decision.

Szczepanski went 7-1 with 98 strikeouts in 47.2 innings as a senior this spring while leading Garber to the Tri-Valley East championship. He was named the MLive Bay City Player of the Year, a Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Dream Teamer and played in the All-Star Game at Comerica Park.

In his prep career, he posted 22 hits and 285 strikeouts — though in 2016 Despite missing all of 2020 due to the coronavirus shutdown — and finishing with a sparkling 1.33 ERA.

Eligible for the MLB Amateur Draft after his sophomore college season.

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