Fate had other ideas.
Poly Prep baseball standout Chris Klein wasn’t really trying to impress anyone this summer. The rising junior was just hoping to have some fun, competing with US Elite on the summer-ball circuit.
But Klein managed to catch the attention of the West Virginia coaching staff anyway, and after a whirlwind recruitment, wound up committing to play college ball with the Mountaineers.
“Once I committed, it was, like, surreal,” he said. “I didn’t even know what to think. It was just hard to comprehend that the whole thing was over and that’s where I’m going to college. I’m psyched about it, but it was just a crazy feeling. It’s kind of sunk in more over the last week; it’s getting more and more real.”
Klein and his US Elite squad actually competed in a tournament at West Virginia earlier this summer, playing three games on the field the Blue Devils standout will eventually call home. He says the Mountaineers coaching staff was impressed with what they saw of Klein then, but it wasn’t until a few weeks later, at a tournament in Georgia, that he was offered a scholarship.
“[My family and I] thought it was such a good opportunity and such high-level competition, we were saying going into the visit if I loved the campus, then it was too good an opportunity to pass up,” said Klein, who couldn’t quite believe it all happened that quickly, or, that easily.
He had seen plenty of teammates deal with the stress of picking a college, but for him, everything with West Virginia just fell into place, and he couldn’t come up with a single reason to say no.
“I was thinking on that [first] tour, ‘Wow, if I could get to go to school here, that would be awesome,’ ” Klein said. “I just loved it, loved the coaches and just everything about it and I just committed on the spot. I wasn’t going to find a better school than that.”
Klein still has plenty of baseball in front of him; he’s set to compete in one of his final US Elite tournaments this weekend and has already got his sights set on another state championship run with Poly Prep this spring.
He’s also hoping to have a bit more fun now that the weight of his college decision has been lifted from his shoulders.
“There’s always that part of worrying about college and that takes away from [playing] sometimes,” Klein said. “So having that weight off my shoulders, I’m just going all in to trying to win and have fun and that’s awesome. I’m looking forward to everything that’s next.”