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Kaneland's Peters looking to make most of baseball opportunity at Bradley

Drew Peters explains in several words the parameters of a baseball opportunity awaiting him at Bradley.

He captures his attitude toward it all with far more brevity.

“I’m excited to prove myself,” Peters said.

Recently removed from a two-season stint at Elgin Community College, Peters, a former Kaneland left-hander, will take a full-time spot on Bradley’s fall roster without consuming a scholarship slot for his junior season.

He is not a preferred walk-on, just an experienced pitcher vying to make the Braves’ 2015 team before ideally joining Bradley on scholarship for his senior season in 2016.

“Obviously, I’ve got to keep working hard, but I’m excited,” Peters said. “It looks like a very good opportunity for me.”

Peters earned some academic scholarship money to the NCAA Division I school in Peoria after also excelling in the classroom at ECC.

On the mound, he ranked fifth on the team with 252/3 innings in 2014 while going 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA and 21 strikeouts. His fastball velocity has hovered in the mid-80s, an attribute he’s looking to enhance while pitching with the Crystal Lake Cardinals of the Metro Collegiate Baseball League of Illinois this summer.

Fellow Kaneland product Bobby Thorson, who joined Peters on the Knights’ Class 3A state championship team in 2011, also is playing with the Cardinals as a right-hander and corner infielder. The two regularly carpool to games, but Thorson already has paved the road from ECC to Division I.

Recovered from a torn ACL he suffered with the Cardinals in 2013, Thorson helped Campbell’s Fighting Camels to a Big South Conference title and an NCAA Regional elimination game against host and in-state foe South Carolina. He pitched a team-high 51/3 innings in Campbell’s season-ending, 9-0 loss last month.

Peters had hopes of beginning his college career at the Division I level, recalling the Braves’ interest in high school. A bone contusion in his collarbone, suffered after a collision with a teammate, curtailed Peters’ senior season in 2012.

Through it all – including visits to Indiana Tech and Division I Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which offered a full scholarship – Peters never abandoned Bradley as his “dream school.” In addition to baseball, he’s also fond of the university’s mechanical engineering program.

“I was looking there out of high school and got hurt my senior year,” Peters said. “I’m glad I came back there.”

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