Anthony Holubecki’s fastball occasionally touched the lower 90s this summer, velocity the Kaneland sophomore right-hander only hopes to augment.
Holubecki is getting out of at least one arms race, though, forgoing any prolonged college recruiting process after announcing his verbal commitment to the Notre Dame baseball program Saturday.
“It’s a great weight off the shoulders. It just lets me go out there and pitch and be the best pitcher I can be,” Holubecki said. “Don’t have to worry about the radar guns in the stands or anything.”
It turns out Holubecki wowed the right people before he was even midway through his high school career, or even before he took his first driver’s education excursion, a milestone he reached Monday.
Notre Dame coaches approached Holubecki’s coach from Chicago-based Elite Baseball Training after a June travel tournament in Cincinnati. The Irish thought Holubecki had the makings to make it in South Bend, Ind.
Months earlier, Holubecki – who’s 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds – followed the path of former two-way Notre Dame standout Jeff Samardzija in choosing baseball over football. Holubecki had played receiver from fourth grade through his freshman year, but decided last winter that he projected as a better long-term prospect in baseball.
“Baseball has always been my favorite sport, and I decided that that’s what my career was going to be and that’s where my success was going to come, so I decided to put 100 percent effort into it,” Holubecki said.
Holubecki split time between two levels last season, pitching once a week with the varsity for about six weeks while playing center field for the sophomore team.
Scrambling to travel to the St. Louis area for his first varsity start after Knights coach Brian Aversa summoned him during spring break, Holubecki settled in by being himself – a dominant pitcher.
“It was a great opportunity,” he said. “All the seniors helped me out and it helped get me to where I am today and helped build my confidence.”