January 3, 2015
Hands down the coolest thing to happen to teenage Anchorage baseball player Willy Homza was being invited to participate in an academic all-star game at the Arizona Fall Classic.
“That’s where all the good schools are watching and you only get in if you have good grades,” he told me.
This kid values good grades as much as base hits and it shows. Homza carries a 4.1 GPA into his senior year and he hit .400 in high school last year and was named all-conference at shortstop.
The switch-hitting, smooth-fielding 17-year-old played well in Arizona and immediately caught the interest of college coaches. He stands 6 feet and weighs 185 pounds.
“I expected D2 schools from the Northwest,” he said. “Then I started getting calls from the Ivy League. I don’t know how to describe it. It just felt so good to get offers from such awesome schools.”
Homza, of South High fame, picked Brown University over Dartmouth College and has already signed his National Letter of Intent to make him eligible to play NCAA D1 baseball in the fall of 2015.
“Willy is a great kid, a hard worker and his improvement over the last 18 months makes his future look bright,” Alaska Baseball Academy director Tony Wylie told me. “I believe he will be successful at Brown based on his work ethic and skill.”
Homza played for Wylie’s ABA that took a trip to the Arizona Fall Classic. It was there that Homza made his name, especially in the academic all-star game that was open only to high school players with a 3.5 GPA and 1,700 SAT score.
“I hope the message it sends is how work ethic in the classroom is equally important as work ethic on the field,” said Wylie, a member of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau.
Homza visited the Brown campus located in Providence, Rhode Island, where he met the coaches and the players, and toured the college facilities. He’s already familiar with the East Coast as he has family in Connecticut and spends a month there every summer.
He said the Brown coaches told him that he would get an opportunity to earn a starting infield job as a freshman. It was an open competition.
“I like the sound of that,” Homza said. “I think I work pretty hard. I wouldn’t say I work hard at it because it’s my goal to keep advancing. I do it because I love it. I don’t even call it work. I think it’s so much fun to go to the cage and hit and take groundballs. I’m super happy I can keep playing.”
This story was written by Van Williams, a freelance writer in Anchorage and the ALB Media Director.