Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WILLIAMSPORT — There’s no doubting that Lucas Blackburn was an imperative part of Westfall’s conference and district championship team last spring.
Blackburn’s lanky, strideful delivery to the plate made him the team’s undisputed ace during his sophomore season as he racked up four wins and posted a 1.75 ERA.
Behind the right-handed hurler, the Mustangs finished 23-5 overall and 11-3 in the Scioto Valley Conference.
Blackburn didn’t have the opportunity to pitch during his junior campaign but when he takes the mound as a senior, he’ll already have his college decision behind him.
Tuesday, he chose to further his academic and athletic careers at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
“The reason why I picked MVNU was because it’s a secluded and safe place with a lot of great people,” Blackburn said. “[MNVU] has great academics, and baseball coach [Keith] Veale and his staff are experienced and know how to win.”
So far, while in Williamsport, Blackburn’s been taught how to win as well. In his two years under coach Trevor Thomas, the Mustangs are 38-18 with a 19-9 mark in the conference.
However, one of those wins stands out from the rest.
“The best high school moment in my career was winning the district championship,” Blackburn said. “Even though I didn’t play, I was being the best teammate I could be and when the last ball was pitched, I was the first one out of that dugout.”
Blackburn’s support of his teammates has always been reciprocated. If you watched last year’s team, togetherness and a sense of brotherhood were two big reasons why the Mustangs were able to capture their first district title since 2010.
“I would not be here right now if it wasn’t for all of my teammates and coaches,” Blackburn said. “But most importantly, I wouldn’t be in the position that I’m in if my parents hadn’t stuck right beside me along the way.”
When Blackburn gets to MVNU, he’ll be joining a team that was 18-6 this season before the year was suspended. Before this spring, Cougars had posted at least 24 wins in each of the past 14 seasons.
“The thing I’m looking for most at the collegiate level is getting better every single day and most importantly, making it to the next level,” Blackburn said. “It means the world to me to be a college athlete because I’ve dreamed of this moment my whole life. I’ve achieved my dream by working hard and putting extra work in as much as I could.”