HANFORD — With his electric fastball, cutter and curveball, Will Springer terrorized opposing batters last season. Now, after three outstanding seasons on the mound and at the plate, Springer’s work culminated with him signing his National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Fresno State.
“Growing up when my dad played in the alumni games, I remember I was always in the dugout, but I could never envision myself being in the active Fresno State team’s dugout,” Springer said. “It’s just crazy knowing that I’m going to be a part of that. I couldn’t be happier.”
Springer will be a fourth-generation Bulldog since his father, former MLB pitcher Dennis Springer, also pitched at Fresno State, and his grandfather and great-grandfather both played football.
“I guess in the back of my mind it was always a dream for him to go [to Fresno State] and it came true,” Dennis Springer said. “It’s good for our whole family. We’re super excited as a whole family.”
With plenty of family and friends in attendance on Friday, Springer made his dream official as he put pen to paper during a signing ceremony at the Sierra Pacific High School cafeteria.
“It means everything to me and my family,” Springer said about the support. “I just can’t thank everybody enough who came out here. It’s crazy how many people have been part of my life going from Cal Ripken all the way to high school. I’m just grateful to have a group of people who have been with me through it all.”
By signing with Fresno State, Springer also became the first Division I scholarship athlete in Sierra Pacific High School history.
“It shows that it’s possible,” Sierra Pacific principal Darin Parson said. “It’s possible for a Hanford kid to come through our school system and end up at this place where talent and hard work and ability can get you somewhere.”
Last season, Springer was named the East Sequoia League Most Valuable Player for a second year in a row. He posted a perfect 10-0 record and never allowed an earned run. Springer had 83 strikeouts to six walks and gave up three extra-base hits in 50.2 innings pitched.
In his three seasons he’s compiled a 10-6 record with a 1.18 ERA and 316 strikeouts. Only once has he allowed a home run and it was during his freshman campaign.
Springer’s talent isn’t just limited to the mound either. As a hitter, he was fourth in the ESL in batting average (.465), second in slugging percentage (.651), ninth in RBIs (10) and seventh in runs (17).
He helped the Golden Bears to a 25-2-2 record last season and perfect 15-0 record as the East Sequoia League champions. Sierra Pacific lost in the CIF Central Section Division IV semifinals, which means there’s still work left to do.
“Personally, I expect a Valley championship,” Springer said. “That’s the goal every year. The personal stats and all that stuff is great, but the No. 1 thing I want to do is win a Valley championship. I want to end high school on a good note.”
Sierra Pacific coach David Furtado said he knew Springer was special from day one.
“His ability to go up there and stay in control and that is everything,” Furtado said. “He never got rattled and those are the kids that you know have it. Not to mention the fact that he’s got a gift, so when you have that kind of talent and you have that kind of mental control the sky’s the limit for you.”
Springer admitted the thought of getting to this point in his athletic career never really crossed his mind, but the hard work has paid off.
“When I came through high school I honestly thought I was going to go to a junior college like Reedley or Fresno City,” Springer said. “I never really thought I’d be able to go to Fresno State and it’s crazy I can even say that.”