By STU SWARTZ
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Elmhurst College’s baseball program has made quite a catch — Goshen High School’s star catcher to be exact.
GHS senior Travis Pickard has announced his intent to attend the NCAA Division III school which is located about 16 miles west of Chicago.
Pickard, a four-year starting catcher for Coach Hal Farmwald’s Goshen Redskins, will be attending the Illinois school with the aid of academic scholarships.
“Coach (Joel) Southern saw me playing for the Indiana Crossroads at The Steelyard in Gary,” said Pickard. “He sent me a letter, saying he was impressed with my catching skills and approach at the plate.
“He thinks I can compete for playing time in 2014, but need to improve in all areas of the game just like anyone entering college.”
Travis is a son of Jim and Lori Pickard. He has a brother Troy who is a sophomore baseball player at Adrian College in Michigan.
Travis was a linebacker and fullback for the football Redskins, earning the program’s “Teamwork” award. He was a four-year wrestler, coached by his Dad, notching more than career wins.
“Baseball has been my first love all along and suits me best for college,” said the youngest Pickard. “I started playing in Goshen Little League.”
Pickard says he plans to study elementary education at Elmhurst, following professionally in his parents’ footsteps.
The Redskin catcher said he also considered Marietta College before settling on the Elmhurst Blue Jays who were third in their conference last spring.
“I visited during one of their camps and like the fact it is a small school with a small baseball roster,” said Pickard. “The school is actually in the middle of a nice neighborhood and downtown is only about a five-minute walk away.”
Pickard sustained a rib cartilage injury during the wrestling regional at GHS last month and that has slowed his preseason baseball work somewhat.
“We seniors are excited about the season,” said Pickard. “I think we have a lot of potential to compete for some championships.
“I like catching because you are involved in every play. You need a good relationship with the pitcher and try to keep him focused during tough times. There has to be a trust there.”
The Redskins open the season March 25 at Phend Field against Mishawaka.