Inside the Recruitment: 2017 LHP Hayden Wynja Picks Purdue

By Phil Wade

Indiana Executive Director

2017 LHP Hayden Wynja, Heritage Christian HS, recently committed to Purdue.

PBR: Why did you choose Purdue? What were some key factors in making your decision? 

Wynja: I chose Purdue for a combination of many reasons. Aside from the great academic reputation of the school, I feel like Purdue will provide me with the best opportunity to go on to play baseball after college. I also love the situation that I'm coming into, the vision of the program, the new coaching staff. The only way to go is up, and I'm excited to be a big part in that. 

PBR: Where did they first see you compete? 

Wynja: I believe the first time they saw me or even heard about me was at Grand Park during my first game of this past summer. 

PBR: What other schools were you considering?

Wynja: There were many great schools that I'm very thankful to have had as options, schools that I would have never thought I'd have the option to play at. Schools from way out West to way out East, from all levels.  

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Wynja: To be honest, I didn't know what to expect, maybe a visit or 2. Probably the best advice I received and could give anyone is, don't commit too early. it's so exciting when you first hear from a coach and they want you to play for them. It is important to get out and explore your options while enjoying the entire recruiting process, so that when you make a decision, you feel 100% about it. The recruiting process was such a fun time for me but also one of the most difficult times. All the attention came seemingly out of nowhere, I felt very fortunate to be in that position, but it was also very overwhelming. 

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue you baseball career?

Wynja: It's simple, I want to play baseball for as long as I can, and I wanted a school that will help put me into into a situation where playing as a career is a possibility. And I know that if I am put into a position to make that happen, nothing is going to stop me from making it a reality. 

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you?  Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Wynja: I definitely think the recruiting process started to 'heat up' as soon as summer ball ended this past summer. My last 3 weeks of summer were filled with visits. I think I visited probably close to 20 schools in 3 weeks. I think that attending some showcases throughout the summer was one of the main reasons that recruiting kind of exploded for me. 

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and become serious about taking your game to the next level?

Wynja: Playing a college sport has always been a dream of mine. I don't think there was ever a point in my life where I didn't believe that I would be able to play in college. It was a goal I set for myself when I was a kid. 

PBR: Who is the best player you've faced in Indiana, and why?

Wynja: I've faced so many great players in Indiana it is honestly hard to keep track of who's the best. Some of the best players can have a bad day when you face them and others who aren't as hyped can just have a great game. That is the funny thing about baseball, it is impossible to perform at your best every outing, which is what keeps me coming back to the game. One of the more memorable matchups I've had is definitely Ashe Russel my freshman year in a fall scrimmage.  

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Wynja: As cliché as it sounds, I feel the biggest thing I could tell anybody is, if you want it bad enough, and are willing to put in the work, it will happen. Hard work is rewarded in the long term.

I play baseball because I love the game, maybe too much sometimes. When things aren't looking up it's easy to lay off and not strive to get better. That has never been my mindset. I love the game, and because I love it, I'm going to spend every waking second I can to try to better my game in one way or another, no matter the circumstance.

I feel like the 2 things that really drive me is my passion and work ethic, those are the most important attributes a player can possess, regardless of talent. 

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point? 

Wynja: This is one of the toughest questions. Looking back on my baseball career there are so many moments that I see as some of the greatest moments in my life. Probably the most memorable moment in my baseball career is when I was cut from the team my freshman year. I feel like that moment is one of the key factors that has fueled my work ethic and passion for the game. It is crazy to be able to look back on the journey that I have been on these last 4 years. I never thought I would be grateful for being cut my freshman year, it is crazy to see how God can take certain situations and turn them into positives. Everything always has a funny way of working themselves out. 

PBR: Preview your high school season for us.  How do you feel your team will be?  What are your expectations and goals?

Wynja: We will be very good this year. I think this will be our best team that we have had in awhile, we have 11 returning seniors. Our goal is to win state, and I think we are a very strong contender. 

PBR: Where do you play in the summer?  What has been your most memorable experience with them?

Wynja: This was my first year playing with Pony Express. My favorite memory was paper airplane golf, it doesn't get any better.

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