BE slugger Whitmer also opts for a junior college

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By Mike Farner

    MOUNT WASHINGTON - Following in roughly the same route as a former and present teammate, Bullitt East slugging standout Josh Whitmer recently signed to play baseball at Lincoln Trail Community College in Robinson, Ill.

    That move will put Whitmer and his next team in the same conference as John A. Logan where Zach McCarthy now plays and where present Bullitt East teammate Matt Bowles recently committed.

    This is another win-win situation for Whitmer who had a .345 batting average as a junior with six home runs for the state semi-finalist last year. He now can stay with the junior college program, but if things go very well this spring, he can still sign with a Division I or II program without having a penalty.

    Whitmer visited upwards of ten schools, including some smaller four-year programs, before deciding on Lincoln Trail.

    “I just liked the facilities,” the senior said just after making it all official in the school lobby. “It just made you feel at home.

    “I just wanted to sign before we started in March so I wouldn’t have to worry about that,” Whitmer added. “With a junior college you have two years and then can decide on a future after that.”

    Whitmer has one of the most memorable hits in Charger baseball history. Normally at signings, the question comes up of a memorable high school moment, but that question doesn’t need to be asked of Whitmer. Everyone remembers the walk-off home run in the ninth inning of the Sixth Region championship game last season.

    “He is the author of the most exciting baseball moment in Bullitt East history,” Charger baseball coach Jeff Bowles said of Whitmer.

    While Whitmer has a big bat in the middle of the Charger line-up, he isn’t so set with a spot in the field. That also goes for Lincoln Trail coaches who haven’t talked that much about where he could play. Last season at Bullitt East, Whitmer played mostly at first or third base depending on who was doing the pitching, but he can also play the corner outfield spots.

    “I like to play first base,” he said.

    “Without talking to the coaches there, I think they could use him at first base or as a corner outfielder,” Bowles said. “He has good outfield ability. He is very baseball smart.

    “He hasn’t done that for us,” the coach said of Whitmer playing in the outfield. “But he might be out there some for us this year.”

    The 17-year-old son of Gary and Shelli Whitmer grew up in Mount Washington and started playing in the local youth league. At the age of nine he started playing for the Louisville Lightening, an AAU traveling team. His summers were spent traveling all over the Midwest and south.

    The past three years he has been on the same summer team as teammate Brandon Alphin, the Louisville Baseball Club.

    The early school years for Whitmer were spent at Whitefield Academy in Louisville, but as an eighth-grader transferred to Bullitt East where he joined the Charger program. Whitmer’s younger brother, Micah, is a sixth-grader at Whitefield now.

    “I’ve always wanted to play at the next level,” the slugger said. “After my sophomore year we started to look at other places. We went up there and liked it.”

    Bowles will be counting on Whitmer a great deal this spring in the middle of the line-up. He finished with 41 hits last season with 20 walks, but did strike out 40 times.

    At the time of Whitmer’s signing, Bowles was not exactly set on his roster for the spring, but he expected to keep six seniors. Whitmer is the fourth of those players to sign with a college.