PITSBURG – Franklin Monroe’s Bryce Filbrun has played baseball since he was 3 years old, and he’ll continue in the sport through his college years as he committed to the Bluffton University baseball team on Friday afternoon.
“It feels great,” Filbrun said. “I’ve been playing baseball since I was 3 years old, and to see all my hard work and dedication finally pay off and get to play at the next level is a real dream come true.”
Filbrun, the son of Rick and Angie Filbrun, was drawn to Bluffton because of its small size and its welcoming atmosphere.
“It’s a real small school, just like Franklin Monroe,” he said. “They’re a real close-knit community. Whenever I met with their baseball coach, he was just real outgoing, and he seemed like he really wanted me on the team, and he just reminded me a lot of home.”
Filbrun, who is a left hander, will pitch in college.
“I think he’ll do pretty good,” Franklin Monroe baseball coach Edward Meyers said. “A Division III program like Bluffton, they’re competitive, and he’ll fit right in. He’s a crafty little lefty pitcher, he’s got good off-speed, and he’s a great center fielder. I think he’ll fit in great in their lineup.”
Filbrun’s off-speed pitches and his pinpoint accuracy are among his greatest strengths as a pitcher.
“He’s got great off-speed, and his locations are impeccable,” Meyers said. “I’ve never seen anybody be able to hit a location at any point in time on any pitch.”
Last year as a junior, Filbrun posted a 1.84 ERA and earned second team all-Cross County Conference honors.
“Last year he had a 3-4 record, but he lost three of those games by one to nothing,” Meyers said. “So our offense didn’t support him at all. So I’m hoping this year with a little more offensive support that we can get him over the hump and hopefully get him some accolades that he deserves.”
In Bluffton, Filbrun is joining an NCAA Division III program that competes in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference along with Anderson University, Defiance College, Earlham College, Franklin College, Hanover College, Manchester University, Mount St. Joseph University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Transylvania University.
The Beavers had back-to-back losing seasons prior to this year but have started strong this season.
“They’ve had a really good start to the season this year,” Filbrun said. “They started 8-2, the best 10-game start in school history, so hopefully whenever I get there next year we can continue that success.”
Filbrun, who plans to double major in marketing and sports management, hopes he can contribute to Bluffton’s team and help continue the winning ways.
“Hopefully I can be one of their main guys that they look to in big situations,” the Franklin Monroe senior said.
Meyers said Filbrun has the tools to be a successful player in college and also can be a strong leader.
“He’s definitely a team leader,” the Franklin Monroe coach said. “He’s the one guy that if anybody’s going to speak up, he’s the guy that will speak up. At the end of practice I’ll say, ‘Does anybody have anything to say?’ and he’s always one of the first guys to raise his hand and say, ‘Hey, we need to do this; we need to do this.’ He’s always the very first guy to step up and speak up.”
Having Filbrun advance to the college ranks is great for him and great for Franklin Monroe, Meyers said.
“For this program to have somebody go to the next level that’s big,” the FM coach said. “We haven’t had one for a few years as far as I know; in my four years we haven’t. So to be able to have one go to the next level and play baseball is great.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.