Academics, Baseball Await Wolpert At GW


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR New England Senior Writer

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Academics, Baseball Await Wolpert At GW

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Tanner Wolpert

Class of 2022 / LHP

Player Information

  • Graduating Class: 2022
  • Primary Position: LHP
    Secondary Position: OF
  • High School: Rice Memorial
    State: VT
  • Summer Team: Bases Loaded Bulldogs
  • Height: 6-2
    Weight: 185lbs
  • Bat/Throw: L/L

Statistics

Pitching
85
Max FB
(07/21/20)
84 - 85
FB
(07/21/20)
68 - 69
CB
(07/21/20)
73 - 74
CH
(07/21/20)
Pitching
Max FB
85
FB
84 - 85
CB
68 - 69
CH
73 - 74
Position
7.03
60-yard
(07/21/20)
86
OF Velo
(07/21/20)
86
Exit Velo
(07/21/20)
Position
60-yard
7.03
OF Velo
86
Exit Velo
86

Academics, Baseball Await Wolpert At GW

WILLISTON, Vt. - Back in middle school Tanner Wolpert took field trips to Washington D.C.

“I remember them fondly,” Wolpert related. 

The area will soon become home for the Rice Memorial junior after a recent commitment to George Washington University.

“I’m excited to go back,” Wolpert said.

Interest from the Atlantic-10 Conference school heated up during the summer.

“I sent them emails and video,” the 16th-ranked 2022 left-handed pitcher in New England reflected. “Being in Vermont with the covid restrictions it was hard to be seen, especially with the dead period. It put a dent into it.

“But I talked to the recruiting coordinator and they also watched me on livestream at the PBR Academic Games. That helped a lot. They were impressed with what they saw. They like my arm slot and my grades. They really saw my potential.”

In early September there was a virtual tour with coaches, the academic advisor and trainer.

“It showed what the whole program was about,” Wolpert noted. “They talked about being a student first. At the end of that they offered.”

Other D-I schools in the New England area had also shown interest in Wolpert, giving the southpaw ample colleges to consider.

“After the Academic Games I got a ton of interest,” Wolpert said in reference to the PBR event in July. “Everything happened fast. I hadn’t had much interest before that.”

But suddenly, Wolpert was making an impression.

“There is definite arm talent from the left side,” PBR wrote on his profile. “Wolpert showed a live arm and a tough angle from the left side. The delivery is controlled, balanced and creates a closed angle to home plate.”

Improvement in 2020 helped the cause.

“Going back to the fall of last year, I was 6-1, 160 pounds and throwing 77,” Wolpert explained. “This year quarantine changed my mindset. I wanted to make the best of the quarantine and I put on 15-20 pounds and I’m now 6-2, 190. I’ve also gotten up to 85-86 on the mound.”

A trip to the GW campus was a necessity in weighing where to take his talent.

“I wanted to make sure I liked it,” Wolpert said. “I walked around the academic buildings and everything was closed, but I wanted to get a sense of the area and a sense of the campus. That’s when I knew what I wanted to do for academics and baseball.”

The coaching staff stood out during phone conversations according to the fourth-rated 2022 Vermont high schooler.

“Right from the jump I had a super strong connection with (pitching) coach (Rick) Oliveri and (head) coach (Gregg) Ritchie, who’s been around baseball a long time,” Wolpert pointed out. “He’s a GW alum in the Hall of Fame. He came back to coach them after coaching in the MLB as a hitting coach. That shows what GW means to him.”

A commitment came a few weeks after the visit to campus.

“It was a super big decision,” Wolpert explained. “The coaching staff was very understanding. I wanted to take my time to make sure it was the right place to be.”

After all, Wolpert has had the desire to play college baseball since those days in middle school.

“It was around seventh grade when a kid going to my high school who was a lefty decided on playing at BC (Boston College),” Wolpert noted. “That’s when I thought I wanted to do that with my life. I wanted to play baseball for as long as I could.

“After that I started getting good feedback at showcases from local schools. Freshman year I saw myself getting better and better. With my grades and abilities, I saw I could get to the next level if I worked hard.”

With 96.78 percent grades in school, Wolpert looks forward to academics as well as baseball in the future.

“Another attraction is that GW has a strong science program with endless opportunities in the city,” the just-turned 17-year-old said.

Both parents and his high school coach are credited with playing huge roles in his baseball journey.

“My mom has been the backbone of this whole thing,” noted Wolpert, who also pointed to the Bases Loaded Bulldog summer organization and 603 Bandits fall program as being instrumental in recruitment. “She makes sure I know my schedule, researches all these schools and drives me across New England. She let me choose my own path and was really supportive.

“My dad catches my bullpens and my high school coach, Jamie Merchant, has worked with me since age nine. He’s been huge in my development and becoming the person I am today.”

A one hour plane ride or 10-hour drive from Vermont awaits Wolpert at GW.

“It was hard being in Vermont and not being able to get out and about but it was always exciting when a coach emailed back,” Wolpert said. “It just fed into the motivation to keep working hard.”

Wolpert is happy with the decision made.

“I 100 percent know that’s where I wanted to go,” Wolpert concluded. “I’m happy and relieved that I found a great spot. I think I can come in and make an impact and help them win.

“The big thing is my arm slot which gives me a lot of movement and gives tough looks for hitters. If I can spot my pitches and go at them, I think I can help out a lot and make a big impact at that level.”