Joel Learnard signs with Illinois State | The Commercial-News, Danville, IL
CATLIN – Salt Fork – Joel Learnard signed his National Letter of Intent Wednesday afternoon as the lefty hurler committed to play baseball for the Illinois State University Redbirds.
“It’s very exciting”, Learnard said. “It’s been a long process, and I’m very happy with my choice.”
Last spring, Learnard went 8-2 and put together quite an impressive season. In 61 innings, he compiled 112 strikeouts with a .80 earned run average.
Learnard caught the eye of the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Butler Bulldogs, but eventually chose to become a Redbird.
“I felt like (ISU) had a program on the rise”, Learnard said. “They have a good, young coaching staff and they can help me become the best I can be.”
Last spring, the Redbirds went 32-24 and ended the season as the Missouri Valley Conference Champions.
As an added bonus, family will surround Joel when he moves to Normal next fall. Both his brother, Morgan, and cousin, JD, attend ISU. JD Learnard is also a pitcher for the Redbirds.
“It’s going to be fun, just like high school”, Joel Learnard said. “JD is a great athlete and a great kid, I’m looking forward to it.”
Learnard is currently focusing on the Storm’s basketball season, but when the weather gets warmer and baseball season begins, the senior looks forward to a less stressful season.
“(Signing) takes off a lot of stress,” Learnard said. “I won’t have to worry about playing to get on a team.”