Chase Matheson will wind up playing college baseball for coach Steve Joslyn after all.
When Matheson was McHenry’s shortstop two years ago, he committed to Northern Illinois. Joslyn, then a Huskies assistant coach, was integral in his recruitment.
Later, Matheson reconsidered and chose to attend McHenry County College because he could work on lessons to become a pilot, a program NIU does not have. When Joslyn landed the Chicago State head baseball coaching job, one of the first calls he made was to Matheson.
Matheson, who hit .408 for MCC last spring and hit .306 in the New York Collegiate Baseball League over the summer, committed to the NCAA Division I Cougars this fall. He will finish his sophomore season at MCC in the spring, then play two years with Chicago State.
“After going to New York for the summer, I got a taste of being away from home and I thought I might stay closer [the last two years],” Matheson said. “Chicago State is trying to be a top-notch program. They’re trying to build something and want me to come in and play shortstop.”
Joslyn made Matheson a substantial scholarship offer. The Cougars also are spending $3 million to put field turf on their baseball field, which should be done this spring.
Matheson was All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference and All-NJCAA Region IV last spring after hitting 14 doubles, three home runs, driving in 32 runs and scoring 46. He also stole 21 bases in 23 attempts.
He followed that with a strong summer with the Adirondack Trail Blazers in the NYCBL, a wood-bat league with many players from D-I and D-II schools. He had five doubles, two homers, drove in 20 runs and scored 19.
“Chase received a lot of interest from schools all over the country,” said MCC coach Jared Wacker, whose team was 35-20 last spring. “He is the perfect example of someone who has utilized the junior college system to put himself in a better position, not only from an academic and financial standpoint, but also from a baseball standpoint.”
Chicago State does not have an aviation program, so Matheson will major in business or education and attend flight school after he finishes.
“Coach Wacker helped me out a lot,” Matheson said. “He developed me as a player and helped me get to where I’m going.”
MCC commitments: Wacker recently announced that Cary-Grove’s Jeremy Vasquez and Marian Central’s Ryan and Tyler Hickey, who are twins, would be attending the school and playing baseball in the 2014 season. Those players all are seniors.
Vasquez was the Trojans’ third baseman last season and represented the Fox Valley Conference at the Stevenson Showcase. He was a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable-mention selection.
Wacker remembers the Hickeys from when he led a White Sox Training Academy at Woodstock’s Emricson Park and they were 10 years old.
“They really stood out,” Wacker said. “They were very good athletes and had an advanced understanding of the game. They also were extremely competitive. I took note of their names and followed them ever since.”
Ryan Hickey was an All-Area honorable-mention pick at catcher and third base. Tyler plays infield and outfield for the Hurricanes and both players will give the Scots speed.