Luensmann commits to South Carolina

Brother pitches at D-I level, too

Travis Luensmann has spent most of his high school athletic career traveling anywhere he was given the opportunity to throw a baseball.

But that entire journey, as well as the success he’s experienced on the Bellwood-Antis varsity team and with personal coaches like State College’s Troy Allen culminated with him being in the right spot at the right time at a recent showcase.

Luensmann, a 6-foot, 6-inch rising senior, was participating in a Perfect Game USA tournament in Georgia and got into a pitching duel with South Carolina recruit Cade Austin. After allowing two first-inning runs, Luensmann settled down and retired 20 straight batters while striking out 11. His fastball reached the lower 90s consistently, and he registered as high as 95 miles per hour, including a few that hit 94 on the radar gun in the seventh inning.

Now Austin isn’t just a former opponent. He’s a future teammate.

Luensmann announced his commitment to the Gamecocks Sunday on Twitter.

“I have been playing travel ball since freshman year of high school,” Luensmann said. “Every summer, I’ve been going up and down the East Coast getting in front of coaches, and I finally found the right fit in these last couple weeks. I liked the environment (at South Carolina). It is a beautiful campus and smaller city, and it felt like home. The fan base and coaches have been outstanding. Everything about it feels very professional, and it’s exciting.”

The performance in Georgia caught the eyes of more than just South Carolina, which had an assistant coach at the game watching Austin.

“It’s been a whirlwind the last couple weeks,” Luensmann’s father, Kevin, said. “He had a great performance in Georgia and went from an off-the-radar, hard-throwing right-handed prospect to someone every top-15 school with scholarship money left was after. We’re thrilled.”

Luensmann said North Carolina, North Carolina State, Clemson, Penn State and Nebraska were among the many other schools interested.

Luensmann’s brother, Chad, just completed his junior year at Nebraska. Chad Luensmann was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2016 before he had to undergo Tommy John surgery that has slowed his career.

“I looked up to him and where he got himself,” said Travis Luensmann about his brother. “I saw Nebraska as how far you can go if you work, and seeing him going there motivated me to do my best to get an opportunity like he did.”

Kevin Luensmann said he saw similarities to Nebraska’s program when the family visited South Carolina.

“The decision was up to Travis, but I will say this, Nebraska is a very high standard for how their student athletes are treated,” Kevin Luensmann said. “It was very similar to what we saw at South Carolina. The success of student athletes and making sure players are taken care of is important to them. Their assistant coach took us around, showed us the facilities and services. They were excellent.”

Both Luensmann brothers have enjoyed plenty of success at Bellwood-Antis. Travis Luensmann was a first-team Altoona Mirror all-star for the second year in a row. He was an Inter-County Conference all-star this past year and went 8-1 with a 1.14 ERA. He struck out 82 and walked just 20 batters.

“Travis has been a tremendous player for us the past three years,” Bellwood-Antis baseball coach Steve Conlon said. “He has an outstanding work ethic and is becoming a true team leader. His commitment to the game and work ethic are outstanding. The Bellwood baseball program is extremely proud of his accomplishments and his commitment to South Carolina. I look forward to one more season with him as a part of the Bellwood program before he moves on to South Carolina where I am sure he will continue his strong work ethic and have a very successful college career.”

Luensmann will continue playing the rest of his summer tournament schedule and still has showcases in Alabama, California and Florida. He said South Carolina has encouraged him to keep testing himself against top competition.

“The coaches liked where I was at when I was in Georgia and they saw me,” Travis Luensmann said. “I just need to work on my consistency. There’s always room to improve mechanics and my pitching arsenal. I’ll keep working. They definitely think they see me as a starter. They see someone like me and the potential I have and that I’m a good kid and have confidence. They think I can be a legit factor for their team.”

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