Jan. 16—Mercyhurst University originally wasn't on the list of colleges for Geneva senior Hewitt Wilt to consider attending and playing baseball for because he thought the school didn't offer his education major.
Wilt was interested in places such as Capital University in Columbus, Marietta College in Ohio, and Lake Erie College in Painesville.
But eventually, he learned that his major was indeed offered at Mercyhurst and he was impressed with the coaches and the facility.
Some of his travel ball teammates played at Mercyhurst, which is located in Erie, last season, and his summer travel ball coach had played there providing Wilt with quite a bit of first-hand knowledge of what the school is like.
Mercyhurst team officials watched him play over the summer and the discussions progressed from there with him committing to the school in early September.
"It's always been a goal of mine to really just play as long as you can," Wilt said. "I started playing when I was 2 or 3 and I really enjoy playing. Around sixth or seventh grade, is when I started to realize I could really do something."
Wilt hopes that he can be a two-way player for Mercyhurst, which is an NCAA Division II team, as he has pitched along with playing first base and outfield in high school for Geneva.
But if he had to choose either to be a position player or pitcher, Wilt would take the mound.
Wilt said his fastball tops out around 88 mph, and he throws a curveball and changeup.
"It's about mixing things up and getting hitters off with their timing," Wilt said. "I also let my defense work behind me so it's not all about me."
At the plate, Wilt served as the leadoff hitter for the Eagles and his speed is an asset at the top of the lineup for Geneva, which won the Chagrin Valley Conference in 2023.
"I would like to win our conference again, we won it last year," he said. "We had a bye in the first round of the playoffs. It was a very winnable ballgame and I pitched and we lost 1-0. We just couldn't capitalize with runners in scoring position."
Personal goals include earning first-team conference, if not player of the year, plus first team all-Ashtabula County and first-team all-district.
"But really I just want to win," Wilt said. "I just want to keep playing with my friends and my school for as long as I can this year."
Geneva coach Terry Hejduk said playing baseball runs in Wilt's family and he could tell early on that Wilt had a passion for the game.
"Hewitt's mother is a cousin of mine and I actually remember watching him play at 8-, 9-, 10-, 11-years old and I went to school with his dad," Hejduk said. "You knew this man had a great work ethic. He lives, breathes, and sleeps baseball. He is a great young man who works his butt off. He's truly earned every opportunity for himself. Hewitt is going to play college baseball and be successful."