Valpo baseball trio makes it official
Updated: Nov 12, 2020
VALPARAISO -- Back when they were about 10, Ty Gill and Grant Comstock managed to get on the same Valparaiso Americans Little League team one regular season.
"I think our dads decided to coach together," Comstock recalled. "We were pretty good that year."
The pair were battery mates that spring and summer and some other seasons during all-stars and travel ball as Gill started his career as a catcher while Comstock has always pitched.
"I switched to shortstop when I was 13," Gill said. "Grant and I grew up together and we've been close ever since."
The former youth baseball and current Valpo High School teammates may end up facing each other down the road after making their college commitments official Wednesday, Gil signing his national letter of intent with Purdue and Comstock doing the same with Northwestern. Fellow Vikings senior Lucas Siewin also secured his playing future with junior college power Kankakee Community.
Valparaiso's Ty Gill (Purdue), Lucas Siewin (Kankakee Community) and Grant
Comstock (Northwestern) signed their national letters of intent Wednesday.
"Last year was a disappointment for everyone," Vikings coach Todd Evans said of the season lost to the pandemic. "Ty and Grant had played as sophomores, which is a big thing to do, especially at the DAC level, the competition. It would've been a year to assert themselves as top players in the area, but (college) wasn't depending on a season that was taken from them. Most baseball players, if they haven't found some place by their senior year, it's tough to find. Lucas, on the other hand, did catch on this fall without a high school season. He put himself out there, posted videos, did what he had to do to catch on. It just took him a little more footwork."
Gill and Comstock both committed to their respective schools as sophomore. Of course, they didn't know the world would get turned upside down last spring by a deadly virus, but they're both grateful in retrospect.
"I was very blessed to be able to commit my sophomore year," Comstock said. "Our junior year, as we all know, there was a lot of uncertainty. Recruiters weren't able to go out this summer. I played with some guys like that and it was tough for them. It was a really tough year to be recruited. It feels really good to make it official. It's real now."
"I felt bad for a lot of people," Gill added. "It sucks for them. College coaches can't come out. I'm just thankful to have opportunity at the time that I committed. It feels good to have everything locked in."
Gill did encounter some uncertainty as the Purdue coach who recruited him, Mark Wasikowski, left for Oregon in June 2019, but most of the Boilermakers staff, including Greg Goff, who took over the program, remained.
"The staff was there. I knew all the coaches," Gill said. "(Goff) was an assistant at the time. We had talked. I had a great relationship with one of the
Teammates as kids in youth baseball, Valpo
High School seniors Ty Gill, left, and Grant
Comstock will both be playing in the Big Ten,
Gill at Purdue; Comstock at Northwestern.
assistants who took over recruiting me after 'Waz' left. There were no problems. The coaches were great to me. It was a perfect situation. They took really good care of me. I'm blessed for that."
Siewin's path wasn't nearly as clear. He had been in contact with Kankakee assistant Bryce Shafer, a former Valparaiso University player, for a while, but hadn't heard back on anything until being contacted in August about his interest.
"When I went, they tried their best to show me what they could," Siewin said. "I got to practice with the team, visit some classrooms, talk to a professor I would have a class with. I liked what I saw. I just thought it would be a really good fit."
A middle infielder, Siewin spent the summer with the Valpo American Legion team, getting in roughly 25 games before their state tournament was cancelled, and posted clips on the Team Level app.
"They were always interested in me, there was just never a time to set up a visit, so I was keeping my options open," he said.
Siewin eventually hopes to latch on to a four-year school after Kankakee.
"I still want to try to figure out what I want to do, so the two-year is going to help me, give me extra time," he said. "Seeing everything that happened, everybody else having trouble reaching out to schools, you didn't have that junior season to help with everything. I'm glad I was able to get things figured out."
The 6-foot-5 Comstock, who projects as a starter for Northwestern, was still able to get in several tournaments with the Cincinnati Spikes, his travel team, playing in Cincinnati, Alabama, Georgia and Indianapolis.
Valpo's Lucas Siewin missed his junior season
for the high school, but was able to get in a
productive summer of play with the American
"It was a fun summer," he said. "It went well. I was able to get a couple more miles per hour on my fastball, get it up to 90. I've just got to keep working in the off-season."
Evans coordinated a signing gathering for the trio at Shoe's Pizzeria to celebrate the occasion.
"It's just a lot of hard work paid off," he said. "It's early on, too. We've got a lot of talented ball players, so a few more of them could catch on. We're looking forward to it."