Blackburn on Wednesday signed his letter of intent to attend Arizona State, becoming the second Patriots baseball player to join a Pac-12 Conference school. Earlier this year, recently graduated rightfielder Ryan Howell signed on to attend Oregon State.
Heritage manager Kevin Brannan is looking forward to watching the two former teammates square off. “Looking back on it, he probably could’ve been on varsity as a freshman,” Brannan said of Blackburn. “He’s a kid that wants to be on the mound in the big games.”
As a junior, Blackburn established himself as one of the most talented hurlers in the Bay Valley Athletic League. In the 2011 season, when he was named league MVP, Blackburn went 8-3 with three saves and a 1.27 earned run average. He fanned 84 batters, second on the team to Jack Jorgenson, and held opposing hitters to a .220 batting average.
He said he chose to become a Sun Devil because of his affinity with the coaches and the school’s pedigree. Arizona State manager Tim Esmay was the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2010, and the Sun Devils boast alumni such as Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson and Dustin Pedroia.
“I’ve worked hard to try and get where I am, and Arizona State is one of the best programs in the country,” Blackburn said. “They’ve had a lot of success. And it’s sunny every day, so you can’t go wrong with that.”