BLOOMINGTON — John Rave estimates he has played baseball with fellow Central Catholic High School junior Jacob Gilmore “since I was about 6.” That streak will continue when they head to college.
Rave, an outfielder, has committed to accept a scholarship offer from Illinois State a week after Gilmore, a pitcher, did the same. Like Gilmore, Rave plans to sign a national letter of intent with the Redbirds in November.
“That’s going to be awesome … we really enjoy playing together,” Rave said Wednesday. “It was the right choice. I know it. I can’t wait for it.”
Rave batted .420 as a sophomore with four home runs and 22 runs batted in. He also was 27 of 27 on stolen base attempts while earning first-team all-Corn Belt Conference honors and the Saints’ most valuable player award.
Central coach Jeff Paul said Rave has been timed at 6.4 seconds in the 60-yard dash, calling him “a special player and a great individual.”
Rave also had a scholarship offer from Western Illinois, took a visit to Notre Dame and had received interest from a number of other schools, including South Dakota State and Bradley.
“It (ISU) is a great baseball program, but also the coaches were just so welcoming,” Rave said. “Right off the bat I built a great relationship with them. A perk is being close to home so my family and friends can come out and watch.”
The 6-foot, 170-pound Rave played with Gilmore last spring at Central, during the summer with a Bloomington Normal Baseball Association travel team and in the fall with a Phillies Scout Team.
Rave throws and bats left-handed, which he said is “definitely an advantage.”
“They (ISU’s coaches) like speed a lot. I think I can really give them a boost on the defensive end chasing down balls in the outfield,” Rave said. “Bunting also is a big part of my game … just getting down the baseline as fast as I can.”
Like Gilmore, Rave’s current focus is on basketball. Both are starters for the state-ranked Saints.
NCAA rules prohibit ISU coach Bo Durkac from commenting until Rave signs his letter of intent.