From The Peach State To The Buckeye State, Vonderhaar Chooses Ohio State

Former New Bremen baseball player Luke Vonderhaar will continue his academic and athletic career by attending Ohio State University to study finance and play baseball. Accompanying him on Monday at New Bremen High School (front row, left) was his father, Steve and mother, Angie, New Bremen Athletic Director Gary Jones, New Bremen baseball coach Chad Wells and Vonderhaar's brother, Aaron.
Sports Editor

From the Peach State to the Buckeye State, Luke Vonderhaar has made an impact at his new home and the New Bremen senior third baseman has decided to stay in Ohio to become a Buckeye and play collegiately at the Ohio State University — making his collegiate decision official on Monday.

"In my college decision process, I looked for schools that I thought would fit me the best academically first and then athletically second," he said. "In the fall, I narrowed it down to seven schools I was going to apply to for academics and then after I narrowed it down to couple of schools, I got the opportunity from (Ohio State) Coach (Greg) Beals to possibly be a part of the program and compete for roster spot."

"Those two things coming together — best academics and that opportunity — made it the obvious choice."

Vonderhaar and his family moved from Georgia to Ohio leading up to his junior year in high school and he became an instant stud on the diamond.

"It has made me adaptable and it has made me into a better person and a more complete person," he said. "The greatest asset I have gotten from the move is the people I have met and the relationships I had since I have gotten here."

In his first year playing for the crimson and gold, Vonderhaar recorded 24 RBIs, scored 26 runs and averaged .514, all good enough for Second-Team All-Ohio and First-Team All-Midwest Athletic Conference honors and helped lead the Cardinals to their first winning season since 2012.

For an encore, Vonderhaar earned his second straight All-Ohio selection — as a first-team honoree — this spring by batting .459 with nine doubles, three home runs, 30 RBIs, 31 runs scored and a .585 on-base percentage. He helped lead the Cardinals to their best record in the MAC since 2012 with a 6-3 clip, 17-7 record overall and a team that finished the season state ranked. He also garnered First-Team All-MAC honors too.

From an academic standpoint, Vonderhaar — who was also named to the All-Academic Ohio Team last week — looked at Miami University, Indiana University and Georgia Tech — where his sister attended — as he looked into each school's business programs. From an athletic standpoint, Vonderhaar looked at lower division schools, such as Hillsdale in Michigan, Otterbein University and other schools around Ohio.

And that was in Columbus — where he will major in finance.

The Buckeyes finished this past season 36-24 overall as the No. 3 seed, where they lost to UNC WIlmington in the NCAA Tournament's Greenville Regional.

Vonderhaar said he is going to go into Ohio State as a corner infielder, but added that he will go wherever the team needs him to be.

He was also quick to thank those who have helped him to get this point, including his coaches back in Georgia, Bryce Brickhouse (Walker High School basketball coach), Mike Brady (Walker High School coach) and Keith Golden (East Cobb High School baseball coach). 

From New Bremen and throughout the state, Vonderhaar thanked, Beals, Cardinals baseball coach Chad Wells, Gregg Beemer (Dayton Classics), former Cardinals basketball coach Adam Dougherty, the entire New Bremen athletics department and his grandfather, Louis Grilliot.

"Without them, I would not have the opportunity to go to Ohio State and compete and I wouldn't be the man I am today," Vonderhaar added. It's been a change moving here, but it was a change for the better.

To read the full story, see Wednesday's print edition of The Evening Leader.