TRAVERSE CITY — Twitter, do your thing.
For Josh Klug, it ended up in a college scholarship.
The Traverse City Central sophomore right-hander posted a video of a bullpen session he threw in January. In the clip, he hit 90 miles per hour with his fastball, sitting comfortably at 89 mph.
One of the pitches blew his hat off.
Someone at the University of Louisville baseball program noticed, and it must have blown them away as well. Cardinals recruiting coordinator Eric Snider reached out to Bill Peterson of Diamonds Sports Training Academy — where Klug trains in the offseason — about three weeks ago.
Klug committed last weekend to the Cardinals, even though he has three years of high school baseball left in him. He’ll join Traverse City West junior left-hander Wyatt Danilowicz as Louisville recruits.
“We’re best friends,” Klug said of Danilowicz. “We’ve been working together for three years. Him committing to Louisville really got me committed to working hard.”
The two played against each other in Little League baseball and would have faced off again for the Trojans and Titans last year if the 2020 season hadn’t been wiped away by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was looking forward to it,” Klug said, “but this year is going to be fun.”
Both Klug and Danilowicz received offers from the Cardinals before ever throwing a pitch in a high school game. Danilowicz missed his freshman season with a knee injury, and COVID-19 stripped Klug of a freshman campaign as well.
“We’re really close friends, so it’s even cooler that we’re both going there,” said Danilowicz, who also pitches for the Diamonds 18u team (Klug is on the 16u squad). “It’s a dream come true for him. I’m very proud of him at the same time.”
Klug (6-foot-0, 195 lbs) went to a college showcase event in Grand Rapids for his Diamonds team a few weeks after the bullpen video and had ratcheted up his numbers even more. Klug clocked in at 91 mph with his fastball, 82 with his splitter and 78 on the curveball.
Last season, his fastball topped out at 86 mph, sitting at 82-83. His curve was 74 and split-finger fastball in the high 70s.
Klug has grandparents and aunts and uncles that live in Danville and Somerset, Kentucky, cities an hour and a half and just over two hours away from Louisville’s campus.
“The few weeks I was in the process, it was very nerve-wracking, but fun,” said Klug, who’a interested in studying mechanical engineering. “It was a good experience. ... Talking to Louisville was a really good experiences. It felt really personal and made me feel like I was at home.”
He also received interest from the University of Michigan and Indiana, and quickly narrowed his focus to the Wolverines and Cardinals.
He hopes to start for TC Central this spring, but sees himself as a possible closer in college. He also plays quarterback and linebacker for the Trojans’ junior varsity football team.
“The ability he has right now, he’s probably our No. 1 (starter) if we were to play right now,” TC Central baseball coach Pat McDonald said. “He lives in the gym and does everything he need to do to get stronger and faster.”
McDonald added that Klug’s game isn’t predicated solely on velocity, either. He throws pitches with accuracy for strikes.
Klug becomes the third brother in his family to pitch in college, joining David (Lawrence Tech) and Luke (Lansing CC) in the collegiate ranks. All three were right-handers, with Luke converting from catcher in high school to pitch for the Stars.
“To have two dudes from Traverse City going to a baseball powerhouse, it shows we’ve got something going on up here,” Danilowicz said. “We’re producing some great talent up here.”