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Former Valparaiso standout, Chesterton pitcher Blake Lemmon verbally commits to Cincinnati

Former Valparaiso standout, Chesterton pitcher Blake Lemmon verbally commits to Cincinnati

Blake Lemmon (Cincy)

Former Valparaiso football and baseball player Blake Lemmon, who transferred to Chesterton midway through his junior year, verbally committed to Cincinnati on Monday.

Blake Lemmon didn't need any more time to weigh his decision.

The star pitcher, who transferred from Valparaiso to Chesterton midway through his junior year, has made up his mind. After his senior season in 2021, the next chapter of his baseball career will be at Cincinnati.

He verbally committed to the Bearcats on Monday, choosing them over Indiana State, Ball State and Louisiana Tech.

"Their field is phenomenal, and I love their coaching staff," Lemmon said. "And then just the campus. It's this small little urban campus that I love, and it's just nice to get around in."

Lemmon has only been to Cincinnati's campus once, but his family did drive by his future college about two weeks ago. Since he was unable to tour the school again due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Bearcats coaching staff sent him a link for a virtual tour, as well as videos and pictures to help him solidify his decision.

The junior said he dreamed of becoming a Division I athlete ever since he started playing baseball when he was 5. That goal became more realistic after an impressive showing at a Prep Baseball Report event in February.

"I hit 92 (mph) off the mound," said Lemmon, who also plays in the outfield. "That's kind of when the journey started."

Blake Lemmon -- Chesterton/PBR

Chesterton pitcher Blake Lemmon had a strong performance at a Prep Baseball Report showcase in February, which helped him land multiple Division I scholarship offers.

Lemmon was eager to grab the attention of more college coaches during the 2020 season, but the COVID-19 outbreak forced the IHSAA to cancel all spring sports on April 2. When the news broke, Lemmon and Trojans coach Jack Campbell were extremely disappointed.

Chesterton had 11 seniors this year, headlined by Indiana State commit Tyler Nelson, but Campbell is thankful that Lemmon will be returning.

"What little time that I've seen him, when he throws the ball, it's really electric," Campbell said. "It really explodes out of his hands, so he's going to be a good one."

From Lemmon's perspective, the Trojans had the potential to contend for the program's first state title this season. Not getting the chance to compete and possibly make it to Victory Field was a devastating end to his junior year, which started in historic fashion at Valparaiso.

Lemmon attended Valparaiso as a freshman and sophomore and was enrolled there for the first semester of his junior year before transferring to Chesterton due to a family situation. In the fall, he helped the Vikings football team win its third consecutive Duneland Athletic Conference title and make its first state championship appearance since 2001.

Valparaiso ultimately lost 27-20 to two-time defending state champion New Palestine in the Class 5A state final. Lemmon was a starting defensive back for the Vikings, snagging five interceptions during the 2019 season, and had four tackles against the Dragons at Lucas Oil Stadium. Even though his team came up short, Lemmon said it was an extraordinary experience, especially considering that it was the last football game of his career.

In order to prepare for his senior year in baseball and his college career at Cincinnati, Lemmon will not return to the gridiron this fall at Chesterton.

"I guess I went out with a bang," Lemmon said with a laugh. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually play at Lucas Oil. It's a memory I'll never forget."

As Lemmon gears up for one last run in 2021, Valparaiso baseball coach Todd Evans said he wishes his former player nothing but the best. Evans guided Lemmon throughout his first two prep baseball seasons and joked about technically still being Lemmon's only high school baseball coach.

If all goes as planned, that will certainly change in the near future.

"Good things come to kids who work really hard, and Blake works really hard," Evans said. "I was going to miss him this year, and I knew I was going to run into him at some point down the line. It didn't happen this year, but it will most likely happen next year, and I'll be looking forward to that."

Gallery: 5A football state final: Valparaiso vs. New Palestine

Slideshow: Scouting the 2019 Valparaiso Vikings football team


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Lake County Sports Reporter

James Boyd is the Lake County prep sports reporter for The Times. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a proud native of Romeoville, Illinois. Before anything else, his main goal in life is to spread love and light.

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