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Pine-Richland baseball standout Wood commits to Penn State

| Sunday, July 9, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

There are good years, and then there's the kind of year Pine-Richland rising junior Matt Wood had.

Since his sophomore year began, Wood has worked his GPA up to a 4.2 and helped lead the Rams baseball team to a WPIAL title. To top it off, he recently committed to Penn State to pursue his dream of playing college baseball.

“I wrote down three goals for this year,” Wood said. “One was to get above a 4.0 GPA, the other was to hit over .300 for my batting average and the third was to be committed by October of this year.

“I really wasn't in an urgent state of mind when it came to making a decision. I wanted to set a goal for myself, though, so that if I did commit, I could take the pressure off of myself and just go out there and play ball for the next two years.”

The recruitment of the Rams catcher seemed like it was just taking off when he solidified his commitment to the Nittany Lions. Wood said Penn State was the first to offer, but Clemson, Liberty and Youngstown State also submitted scholarship offers.

Pine-Richland's leader in RBIs this season said he first was noticed by the Penn State coaching staff after taking part in a showcase. Later, they saw Wood at Pine-Richland's first-round PIAA playoff game. After the game, the sophomore was invited for a visit.

That visit, Wood said, sealed the deal for him.

“I hadn't been up there, and I'd heard it was nice but it just blew my mind how gorgeous the campus was and how gorgeous the field was,” he said. “The coaches, I really got along with them well. Soon after, I started to get some more looks and go on more visits.

“I started comparing all of the other schools to Penn State and just didn't find anything close to that for me. The education at Penn State is great, and that helped put them over the top for me. All the benefits of going there, too, it's just a great experience.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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