A year after taking the mound as College of San Mateo’s starting pitcher in the state championship baseball game, Devin Bradley is headed to a four-year school that has its sights set on a berth in the College World Series.
He is in the process of finalizing his commitment to Coastal Carolina University, a Big South Conference powerhouse that has made the NCAA Tournament in 10 of the past 11 years and advanced to the Super Regionals twice since 2008.
During his visit to Conway, S.C. late last week, Bradley found himself eager to join a program with a purpose.
“Everyone was really on the same page,” the Carlmont High School alum said. “Everyone I talked to was talking about getting to Omaha. That was one of the things I really liked.”
Bradley, coming off a sophomore season at CSM in which he went 5-2 and posted a 1.57 ERA, is set to play for a team that has won five straight Big South titles in both the regular season and conference tournament. He said he believes his experience as a Bulldog has prepared him “greatly” to hit the ground running at the Division I level.
“Making it to the state championship game last year and , playing in those games and being in that environment, it’s really exciting,” added Bradley, a Belmont resident. “To be able to possibly continue in that is a great opportunity.”
The right-hander is the second CSM pitcher to commit to a prominent four-year school this year. Star reliever Josh Fredendall, who attended Hillsdale High, .
Ironically, Bradley, a two-time first-team all-conference selection at CSM, hadn’t even heard of Coastal Carolina before a few months ago. He initially offered a verbal commitment to Tennessee, but he said that a coaching turnover gave him second thoughts. Tennessee’s recruiting coordinator suggested he check out a Coastal Carolina program where the coordinator had contacts, and Bradley and the Chanticleers increasingly found they were a strong match.
Bradley, 20, said the Coastal coaching staff has indicated he has a strong chance of earning a role as a starter on a team that may have as few as eight returning players from a 2011 team that went 42-20.
“They’ve got some freshmen coming in, some hard-throwing guys, but not a lot of experienced guys,” related Bradley, who said Ball State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Sonoma State were his other suitors. “What they’re looking for is someone who can come out and they know what they’re going to get.”
Bradley’s trademark poise and competitiveness figure to be big assets at Coastal, just as they were at Carlmont and CSM. In the Bulldogs’ state runner-up year, he went 5-1 and finished second in the state with a 1.40 ERA while logging 51 1/3 innings. This past season, Bradley more than tripled his strikeouts (from 15 to 46), issued just 15 walks in 63 innings, held opponents to a .208 batting average and didn’t allow a home run or a triple.
Asked to assess his prospects of playing professional ball in the future, Bradley said, “It’s definitely on my radar. … (But) I’m not a guy who throws 96 (mph), and I’m a 6-foot right-hander.”
Bradley, who intends to study business management and finance, suggested that preparing for “the real world” was more on his mind than the MLB draft was when he was making his four-year choice.
“Being realistic … what I was basically focused on was getting to a school that could give me the best education and somewhere that could give me the opportunity to play as long as I can. And I definitely think Coastal is the best fit for that.”