Dan Hrbek spent most of his summer traveling around, playing at different baseball camps and visiting a bunch of universities.
Wednesday afternoon, the Pleasant Valley senior officially made up his mind about his baseball future.
Hrbek will further both his academic and athletic careers next year at Radford University in Southwest Virginia. Radford is a Division I school and is a member of the Big South Conference. Hrbek, who has been a Bear for the majority of his life, will shortly become a Highlander.
"I really love the school," said Hrbek. "Academically it fits me. I want to study psychology. Then the baseball program is tough. Just meeting with the coaches, seeing the field and how the players work – I felt like it was right for me.
"When we met the coaches they took me on a tour and everything. I felt real comfortable with the coaches. They really liked me and I felt the same way about them."
Other schools that were in the mix for Hrbek's services were Virginia Tech, Winthrop, George Mason and Williams & Mary. However, after giving it some thought, he decided on Radford.
"I actually visited two schools that same day," said Hrbek. "I visited Radford and it made it tough because it was the middle of the summer. Schools were contacting me left and right. I was getting pushed by some, while some were laying back. At the end of the day I just had the feeling that Radford fit me."
Hrbek figures to play shortstop and come in as a relief pitcher – possibly even as the team's closer. He struck out 28 batters in 22.6 innings of work last year with Pleasant Valley and threw 262 of his 405 pitches for strikes (65 percent). He walked just nine batters while posting a 3.71 ERA.
The right-handed pitcher, left-handed batter hit .352 in 2011 with a .483 on-base percentage and a 1.004 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He recorded 25 hits in 71 at-bats while knocking in 19. Hrbek was known for putting the ball in play, as he struck out only nine times 89 plate appearances.
"They told me that I will be competing right away and that really mattered in my decision," Hrbek said. "Their shortstop right now is a senior. He is likely to get drafted so the spot will be open."
Hrbek attended scouting camps with the San Diego Padres and the Colorado Rockies this past summer. He also has the luxury of being able to talk to former Pleasant Valley pitcher and current Padre minor leaguer Jeremy Gigliotti.
"He's told me to keep working hard," said Hrbek. "I've been to a couple of pro scouting events. The competition is tough there, but I feel like I had some strong showings. I'm just going to keep working hard to get to that level."
Still, before Hrbek can move on to his college days, he must first finish his high school ones. He is hoping to go out with a bang and lead the Bears back to the Mountain Valley Conference championship.
"I am going to keep working hard in the weight room," said Hrbek. "I'm going to try to keep getting bigger, faster and stronger.
"As a team, I hope to lead them in the right direction. Our goal is to always get to the MVC championship and I want to win that for them. After that hopefully we can compete for a district title."