BY SAM SCINTA WEEKLY REPORTER
O’FALLON – McKendree University Head Baseball Coach Danny Jackson is a Metro East native and understands the kind of baseball talent the region has to offer. He is making it a focal point of his recruiting strategy to bring in that kind of talent.
The Bearcats added two more Metro East athletes on Friday when Connor Breyer and Cody Crowder, both of O’Fallon, signed to play in Lebanon.
Breyer and Crowder both played for Southern Illinois Batter’s Box High School Travel Showcase Team, based at the Family Sportsplex in Belleville off of Mascoutah Avenue.
The team played in several showcase tournaments around the country at colleges like Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Missouri, and Saint Louis, as well as in tournaments in Florida and Georgia.
One team from Georgia in particular that the showcase team played against featured 13 NCAA Division I signees, including six commits to the Southeastern Conference, widely considered the best baseball conference in College Baseball.
“Both of those guys, Connor and Cody, were both facing and hitting well against some of the best pitching and defense of any high school players in the country,” a Batter’s Box coach told the Weekly. “Cody played Right Field and didn’t commit an error all season, so it just gives you part of an idea of how good both of these guys were.”
Breyer and Crowder stood out on a team full of college-bound talent both thanks to their defense in the field, but also to their outstanding seasons at the plate. Both players ranked in the top four on the team in batting average.
For both Crowder and Breyer, the decision to attend school and play baseball together was an easy one, as the two have been best friends off-field since the age of 11 when Cody moved to O’Fallon from Alaska.
“Cody moved into my neighborhood when we were little kids and we’ve been best friends ever since,” Breyer said. “He’s always been there for me and to know that he’ll be there for me as we begin this next journey is something that was really important to me.”
Breyer plans to find a spot on the right side of the infield at either Shortstop or Third Base, while Crowder figures to patrol an outfield position.
“McKendree was kind of an easy decision for me because my mom works there and I know I’m going to get to play with Conner,” Crowder said. “I had a good connection with the coaches, and that just made the decision even easier.”
Cody is the son of Derek and Tia Crowder of O’Fallon. Conner is the son of Kristy Breyer of O’Fallon and Nick Breyer of Texas.