From blue and gold to cream and crimson

Freshman explains his decision to commit to IU baseball


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An Instagram post from earlier this semester reflects the fact that freshman Eli Bennett has committed to playing baseball for the Hoosiers at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Nicholas Rodecap, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Oct. 27, Eli Bennett announced on Twitter that he would be heading to Indiana University to play NCAA Division I baseball. On March 28, he will play his first high school baseball game. 

Having just turned 15 years old, Bennett is already an imposing figure, standing at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds as a freshman. The left-handed pitcher boasts a fastball velocity of 80 miles per hour, placing him in the 92nd percentile of 2025 graduates. 

Though he is also a right fielder and first baseman, he shined on the mound at the 2021 Perfect Game WWBA Freshman World Championship in Palm Beach, Florida, taking home Most Valuable Pitcher honors for the Evoshield Canes Midwest travel baseball club. 

These accolades and numbers are certainly promising signs of things to come, and Head Coach Mr. Ed Freije ‘99 looks forward to helping Bennett realize his potential. “Part of having the opportunity to commit early is based on how he projects to grow and develop throughout high school. We look forward to being a part of that, while pushing him to be the best version of himself on and off the field,” the coach said. 

Standing out on the diamond is nothing new for Bennett, who said he first realized his athletic prowess around five years ago. “When I was 10 or 11 years old is when I really started standing out from other people,” Bennett said. “Everybody —  players, coaches, my parents and grandparents — all noticed. I started doing a lot better than everybody else and realized I was a lot more mature than everybody else,” he said. 

His maturity on the diamond did not go unnoticed in Bloomington, as it landed him an opportunity that is presented to a microscopically small number of high school baseball players. Bennett is among the 0.72 percent of all players nationwide who will have the chance to play Division I baseball on a scholarship. Of the 483,000 athletes who take to the diamond each spring, only approximately 3,500 will join this elite group, and one of them is a freshman here on the Hill. 

Bennett’s decision to join the Fighting Irish baseball program was partly a result of the squad’s 29-0 season back in 2017, which culminated in the Irish taking home the Class 4A State championship in thrilling fashion thanks to a line-drive extra-inning home run by Evan Uhland. 

The baseball program and Coach Freije attracted me to Cathedral.”

— Freshman Eli Bennett

“The baseball program and Coach Freije attracted me to Cathedral. My family really liked Freije after talking to him one day,” Bennett said. 

On the other side of the conversation, Freije said, “It was a pleasure to meet up and discuss Cathedral with Eli and his family. We’re fortunate to have Eli as a part of the Cathedral family and we look forward to him competing and working hard with us in the Cathedral baseball program.” 

He was among the Irish fans in attendance when the team claimed the Class 4A title in 2017, and Bennett said that squad’s undefeated run was what led him to contemplate calling Brunette Park home during his high school career. 

He said he wants to build on the legacy of Cathedral baseball. 

Bennett currently plays for the Canes Midwest travel baseball club, and provided he chooses to sign his letter of intent to play baseball at IU during his senior year, he would be the second Irish baseball player from the Canes to go on to play Division I baseball. Chris Gallagher ‘21 is currently a freshman at Wright State University, and his name is one which was synonymous with Cathedral baseball between 2018 and 2021.

By committing as a freshman, Bennett has already claimed his place in Cathedral baseball history as he is the first player in recent memory to do so, with Gallagher having announced his decision to play for the Raiders in the fall of his junior year. 

Freije noted that Bennett’s decision to commit early was very measured. He said, “Eli seemed to make a very mature, educated and thought out decision in choosing to commit to Indiana University. I was especially impressed that he came to talk with me and let me know before I read it or heard it somewhere else.”

Bennett said that IU stood out to him in his search for an academic and athletic fit given its proximity to Indianapolis and its place in the Big Ten, a Power 5 conference. “It’s up there with most of the competition, so once I got that offer I was like, ‘that’s where I want to go,’” Bennett said. 

While some may be skeptical of Bennett’s readiness for high school baseball, the southpaw said that he expects it to be just like any other competition. “Nothing to it,” he said. “Just another baseball game.” 

Others may call into question his abilities and challenge the notion that he can measure up to older, more experienced high school players. Bennett prefers to let his on-field performance do the talking. “They can think what they want,” he said. “The college coaches know, the players know, they can think what they want. I don’t really care. There are other people who are just like me, just as good as me. I just need to keep on getting better.”