Harlem High pitcher Tyler Wirsu signed a letter of intent Monday to play for North Greenville University because the South Carolina faith-based school feels like home.
“It’s a small school, a Christian school, that reminds me a lot of Harlem,” said the 17-year-old senior. “And they have a really good baseball program.”
Wirsu started playing baseball at age 3. His family moved to Harlem from Augusta when he was 12 just so he and his older brother Josh, now a pitcher at Gordon College in Barnesville, Ga., could play for coach Jimmie Lewis and the Bulldogs.
Lewis said Wirsu’s 2-3 season record is misleading.
“He’s my go-to guy, who gets put into the tough games,” Lewis said. “And he’s had some tough breaks in some games with the defense not playing behind him as well as they should.”
Even though his record might not reflect it, Wirsu boasts a 1.39 ERA with 43 strikeouts this season prior to the weekend games.
That’s a big improvement over Wirsu’s 4.87 ERA in seven games last season.
With more growth at the college level, Wirsu hopes to position himself to play professional ball.
“Getting drafted to play pro ball is the big dream,” he said. “That’s really what I hope to accomplish.”
If that dream doesn’t materialize, though, Wirsu intends to stay in sports by studying health and wellness to become a trainer.
Lewis believes Wirsu has what it takes to play well in a more competitive environment.
“He’s got a good fastball, curveball and change-up. He locates really well,” Lewis said.
“At colleges, they treat baseball much more like it’s a business than a game for fun. But Tyler’s got a good head on his shoulders and should be able to learn that way of playing ball.”