Baseball: Naperville Central’s Cody Campbell commits to MinnesotaNaperville Central's Cody Campbell gets a the ball from his glove before tossing it home against Waubonsie Valley during their game at Naperville Central High School in Naperville on Thursday, March 28, 2012. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Living in five different states prior to arriving in Naperville before the 2011-12 school year, Cody Campbell always had designs on continuing his baseball career at a Big Ten school.
On Thursday night, Campbell saw that dream become a reality in verbally committing to the University of Minnesota.
“I’ve always wanted to be a Big Ten player and if I couldn’t go Big Ten (in baseball), I was hoping to go Ivy League for football, because I want to get that education just in case sports doesn’t work out,” Campbell said. “Because that’s really the most important thing — education and then sports comes after.”
Taking an unofficial visit to the campus in Minneapolis, Minn. last weekend, Campbell was so impressed that he called the Golden Gophers’ baseball staff to let them know he wanted to become part of the Minnesota baseball program.
The Golden Gophers went 29-27 in 2012 and they last made an NCAA tournament appearance in 2010 under head coach John Anderson.
Anderson has led his alma mater’s baseball program since 1982 and has won 1,092 games, five Big Ten regular-season titles and nine Big Ten Tournament titles.
“They’re in pretty good shape,” Campbell said.
As a junior for a Naperville Central team that went 27-13 and fell a game short of the program’s second trip to the Class 4A state semifinals in three years this spring, Campbell went 4-3 with a 3.19 ERA in 41 2/3 innings of work.
He knows full well that improvement must come if the Redhawks are to possibly take a step further during the 2013 season.
“I’ve been working all summer, so when (Minnesota) came to see me, the couple times they did, I was pretty fundamentally sound,” he said. “So I just gotta keep working fundamentals and start working on a third pitch.
“I should hopefully do better than a 4-3 record (in 2013) because I was pretty embarrassed with that.”
Campbell chose Minnesota over interest from both Southern Mississippi and Indiana State.