Unfortunately for college recruiters, predicting production at the next level is not an exact science.
However, Brescia University head baseball coach Aaron Biddle knows exactly what he’s getting from his latest signee.
That is because Woodland senior catcher Houston Stewart, who signed to play at Brescia Tuesday at Woodland High, follows brother Hank Stewart as the latest member of the family to join the Bearcats.
“College coaches, you sign a kid, there’s always questions that you try to figure out, but they know exactly what they’re getting with Houston,” Woodland head coach Corey Gochee said of Brescia. “His brother has been there a couple of years and was all-conference. He hit a bunch of home runs and caught very well. They’re expecting sort of the same thing from Houston, so they know what they’re getting into.”
Like Houston, Hank also is a catcher and is graduating from Brescia this year. Hank was a member of Cartersville High’s 2009 state championship team and is leading the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in batting average (.447), home runs (12) and RBIs (72). Stewart is third in the NAIA in batting average, fourth in RBIs and 10th in home runs.
According to Houston, Hank is one of the primary reasons he is going to Brescia.
“My brother went there last year and he said it’s a good school and they treated him well,” Houston said. “I was thinking about going to Reinhardt or Shorter, but [Brescia is] giving me a full ride.”
“I think it’s the right decision,” Stewart’s father, Eric, said. “His older brother has been there for three years. We have a good relationship with the coaches and the school. We know how they are and they’ve gotten to see him and work with him several times, so we’re going into a situation where we know what they expect of him. We know what he’s going to get out of it, so it’s a good decision.”
Houston Stewart transfered from Cartersville midway through his junior year and was not eligible to play on Woodland’s baseball team until this season.
However, Stewart provided the Wildcats with a strong defensive presence behind the plate this year.
“He was a very good defensive catcher for us,” Gochee said. “His production behind the plate, blocking baseballs, throwing runners out, receiving the baseball, there’s probably not a better one on our team this year.”
Stewart says he expects to contribute as a freshman to the Brescia baseball team, which set a school record for wins this season with 35.
“[Biddle] guaranteed me a spot starting at third my freshman year,” Stewart said. “I plan on starting at third base my freshman year and he said that I’d be starting catching my sophomore year.”
Regardless of how Stewart performs on the diamond, he is a step closer to achieving his goals outside of baseball, which includes becoming a firefighter.
“I’m just excited for Houston. Every kid that plays high school baseball, that’s their goal, to make it to the next level,” Gochee said. “He was able to do that and achieve the size of athletic scholarship that he’s getting is just tremendous. In baseball, that’s hard to come by at a four-year school. That’s going to be a huge relief on his parents and he’s getting a college education from a good school and getting to play baseball.”