Aces senior baseball standout Jared Piper had visited schools like Illinois, McKendree, and Morehead State among others, as he searched for a place to call home for the next four years. However, he never quite forgot one of the earliest recruiting stopoffs he made. Monday, the shortstop remembered them again by signing scholarship forms to play next year at Hillsdale College of Michigan.
“It pretty much came down to Hillsdale. No one else really stood out to me,” said Piper of the NCAA Division II school located in southern Michigan. “They are really good academically. Their baseball program is on the rise, and they made me a pretty good offer.”
Aces coach John Copeland couldn’t be happier with Piper’s decision. “Anytime you get a kid to sign, it creates a buzz for the program, and it gets people talking about and excited about baseball,” Copeland said. “I’m proud of Jared. It shows that hard work and commitment pay off.”
Hillsdale, a school of 1,300 students, is a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Chargers are coached by former major league player Paul Noce, the winningest coach in the 103-year history of the school. Noce played with the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, and Cincinnati Reds during his playing days, and later was a scout in the Pittsburgh organization before embarking on his coaching career.
Piper, a threat on the base paths with his speed as well, thinks he’ll wind up at shortstop again in college. “They said they wanted me to play short, or middle infield. But, they said they liked that I’m a utility guy.”
Copeland said now that Piper’s been given the chance, the next step will be up to him. “It’s all going to come down to hard work,” he said. “Jared’s a great player, and leads us offensively and defensively. If he puts in the time and the effort, and the coaches like what they see, he’ll be all right.”
“I look for him to step up this year for us as a verbal leader, too.”
While adjusting to college pitching will be his biggest challenge in college, Copeland said Piper has the speed and range in the field to handle what’s coming at the next level.
Piper used the opportunity to offer his thanks.
“I’d like to thank coach Copeland for getting me in there over the last few years and giving me the experience since I was a sophomore, plus my parents for taking me places and always supporting me. I also want to thank Joe Lis because her greatly helped me on my hitting.”