Drew Blake is set to join a list of many, including his future coach, who have transitioned from high school to college baseball without leaving Stillwater.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound, left-handed pitcher announced his commitment earlier this week, becoming the latest in a line of Stillwater High players to go on to play at Oklahoma State.
Blake, a junior in the class of 2021, will become the first Pioneer to join the Cowboys’ program as a freshman since Dylan Gardner did so after graduating in 2017. The Cowboys are coached by 1995 SHS graduate Josh Holliday, who helped OSU reach the College World Series in 1999.
“I’m excited to announce that I’ve committed to play baseball at Oklahoma State University. Thank you to all of my family, friends, and coaches who have supported me throughout this whole process. #gopokes,” Blake tweeted out Tuesday.
Blake will become the first Stillwater pitcher since Carson Teel, who left OSU after his redshirt junior season in 2018 for the MLB Draft, to join the historic OSU program. He talked about his commitment and decision to verbally commit during a time when his junior season would be winding down, if not for the coronavirus pandemic.
“I had a couple days to think over it and it seemed like a great decision for my family,” Blake said. “There is no other school I really wanted to go to. I always wanted to play at Oklahoma State, so I just decided to pull the trigger on it.
“… I’ve grown up watching OSU baseball since I was little, so I’ve seen a handful of those guys come through. I’ve gotten to watch them and now I’m hopefully going to get to do that in the future.”
SHS coach Jimmy Harris, who’s coached four players who have gone from Pioneers to Cowboys during his tenure, was proud of his left-handed ace.
“We’ve been working on this for a little while,” Harris said. “He’s been working really hard and he’s had a lot of people that have been looking at him. I’ve told people all day that when you grow up in Stillwater and you go to Josh Holliday’s baseball camp and you go to Allie P. (Reynolds Stadium), you just want to play there. That’s just what you want to do.
“For Drew to have that become a reality, I know he’s pumped. He’s so excited. He knows there is work still to be done and he’s going to do. He’s excited about his opportunity and I think he’s going to make the most of it. We’re just really excited for him.”
Harris said Blake’s work ethic helped him turn from a good pitcher as a freshman two years ago into one of the best in the state. He even complimented Blake’s workout routine during this time when sports have been shut down for nearly two months.
“He’s grinding,” Harris said. “That kid has worked really hard. When everyone is playing video games or everyone is hanging out, Drew is grinding and he’s working. I’m so proud he’s getting to benefit from that.
“For one, his body has matured. He’s got in the weight room and he’s been committed to the weight room to be a physical player. We lift as a team and he lifts on his own. He does an entire workout for his arm on his own. He’s always been a really good pitcher.”
Although his junior season was cut short – after a 2-0 start on the mound with wins over Broken Arrow and Jenks – Blake has been working out and improving his pitches during the past two months.
He even recently posted a video showing one of his pitches that was clocked at 93mph.
Blake is determined to keep playing baseball this summer before returning to SHS for a senior campaign next spring.
“My summer season is still on right now, so I’ve been lifting every day,” Blake said. “I’m pretty much doing all of the same stuff I was doing during the high school season.”
His fastball isn’t the focus of his training right now, but he still wants to keep improving it. Harris said Blake is working more on his other pitches.
“Obviously, he has a really good fastball,” Harris said. “He has some movement on his ball. He’s really been working hard, especially during this break, on his off-speed stuff like his change-up and his curveball. He’s trying to be an expert on those. He can locate his pitchers.
“The biggest thing that he probably does is his mound presence. He honestly believes there is no one better than him and there’s not a hitter he can’t get out. He’s not arrogant by any means, but his mindset is he’s tough on the mound. He’s very aggressive on the mound and he feeds off of that.”
Last year, Blake helped propel the Pioneers back to the Class 6A state tournament. In the winner-take-all regional championship at Couch Park, he pitched the final three innings of a 7-6 win over Enid.
Blake ended the contest with a strikeout with the tying run standing on second base. It was an exciting moment in his young career.
Since that win and into this year, Blake’s college recruitment has ramped up. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed it a bit, but coaches have been in touch with him without talking in-person, face to face.
“I’ve been pretty much been relying on video,” Blake said. “The recruiting process had been heating up until the whole coronavirus thing happened. That definitely took a bit of a hit to it, but I’ve been able to keep training, and I had some videos I was able to send out. It ended up working out pretty good.”
Coach Holliday was the one most often talking to Blake about coming to OSU.
“I really like the coaching staff and what they’re about,” Blake said. “I’m super grateful that they gave me this opportunity. It’s pretty cool.”
He’s also thrilled to one day play in O’Brate Stadium, which is set to open next year.
“I’m so excited,” Blake said. “Obviously, it’s one of the nicest facilities in the country. It’s going to be awesome. I’m super excited for it.”