Kasparie sees “lots of opportunities” to improve his game with Purdue Fort Wayne’s baseball program

QUINCY – Engage Ben Kasparie in a conversation about baseball if you get the chance.

You will discover a player whose appreciation for his craft is as strong as his competitive spirit.

“A swing is like painting a picture,” said Kasparie, a graduate of Quincy Notre Dame and John Wood Community College who recently committed to play baseball at NCAA Division I Purdue Fort Wayne. “It's a work of art. When you watch the professional baseball players swing a bat, there are a lot of similarities. You have to remember those similarities.”

“There are differences in stance and things like that, but when it comes to contact with the ball, there is a way to get pretty good contact with the ball.”

His ability to make contact, create havoc on the basepaths with his speed, and make gap-to-gap defensive plays in the middle of the field is why DI programs showed interest in the all-region Gold Glove outfielder.

But Purdue Fort Wayne's needs and Kasparie's desires were a perfect match, ultimately leading him to choose to attend the Horizon League school.

Kasparie was the eighth sophomore at JWCC to earn a spot in a four-year college program and the second to earn a scholarship to a Division I school, with Payton Mansfield previously signing with Jacksonville State.

“I talked to some other teams and got some offers, but not really from places I wanted to go, but places I would settle down and go if I needed to,” Kasparie said. “Purdue Fort Wayne was the right fit. They play the same type of baseball that I like to play. They do a lot of things that I already did at John Wood and that Coach (Adam) Hightower teaches.”

They fulfilled his wishes, which essentially boiled down to three things.

First, Kasparie wanted to play at the highest possible level.

“I believe I can compete at any level if given the chance,” he said.

Secondly, Kasparie wanted a program that would help him develop as a player.

“Every player's dream is to get drafted,” he said. “If you go to a place where you feel like you can get better and you're motivated to get better, that's the right choice. They need me, so I'm motivated to meet their needs.”

Third, Kasparie wanted to attend a first-class academic institution and graduate with a worthwhile degree.

“When you graduate from Purdue Fort Wayne, your diploma says 'Purdue University,'” Kasparie said. “That's pretty cool. They made me want to go to that school, too.”

A bigger selling point was the chance to influence the diamond.

Last spring, Kasparie posted a .294 batting average, earning honorable mention All-Mid-West Athletic Conference honors. He stole 34 bases and was caught stealing just once. He made just two errors in 130 center field chances, earning Gold Glove honors.

More importantly, he has used his time at JWCC to improve his game in every way.

“I will say that two years ago I was a much better football player than I was a baseball player,” Kasparie said. “My dad and I have talked for years about how football is physically demanding and that baseball offers more opportunities.”

That opportunity came in mid-June through a series of phone conversations with members of the Purdue Fort Wayne coaching staff. Kasparie had been in touch with them in the spring, but interest seemed to have waned until one day he was busy on construction work.

“I got a call in the middle of work and just asked, ‘Hello?’” Kasparie said.

It turned out to be Fort Wayne assistant coach Justin Huff.

“He told me they were interested in me and that he really liked my offer,” said Kasparie. “I just thought, 'Great.'”

Later that same week, Mastodons assistant Brent McNeil called and the conversation continued, going from interest to applying for admissions to talking about financial aid and scholarship money.

“They made an offer in the afternoon and I accepted in the evening,” said Kasparie. “I was ready to go. I couldn't pass up this opportunity.”

15 players have graduated from the Mastodons, opening the door for new players who can make an impression.

“A lot of possibilities,” said Kasparie. “They keep telling me that.”

He just needs a chance.