Crebs to play baseball at Fairleigh Dickinson

WHEELING — It didn’t take long for Austin Crebs to make a decision about his collegiate future.

Actually, it took just one visit to Teaneck, N.J., which is a few minutes outside New York City, for Crebs to know where he wanted to spend the next four years.

And it became official during a ceremony Thursday at Wheeling Central High School when Crebs signed his name on a National Letter of Intent to continue both his academic and baseball careers at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

“Playing Division-I baseball has been a goal of mine since I was a little kid and now to realize I am going to get that chance is very exciting,” Crebs said. “It’s like a dream come true.”

You name the part of Fairleigh Dickinson and Crebs fell in love with it. From its location, campus, academic offerings, baseball program and coaching staff, they were all check marks in the positive column.

“I visited during the summer and fell in love with it,” Crebs said. “I really believe this is going to be a great fit for me in every way.”

Fairleigh Dickinson, which recruited Crebs as a starting pitcher, saw him pitch in an event in Cincinnati when he was pitching for the Chandler travel team.

“They watched me pitch and just kept in touch with me,” Crebs said. “They called my dad last spring and we went and visited during the summer.”

Though heaviliy recruited by many Division-II and III programs, Fairleigh Dickinson was the lone Division-I offer Crebs received.

“I wanted to play Division I, but I wasn’t going to be stubborn about it,” Crebs admitted. ”I am going there because it’s the perfect fit for me.”

Crebs spent his first three seasons of high school baseball as a member of the Wheeling Park Patriots. However, he opted to transfer to Central for this season, which he admitted was “a tough decision.”

Helping to ease the transition was Central’s hiring of Bo McConaughy as its new head coach to replace the late Jamey Conlin.

“In a short period of time, he has really helped to prepare me well for college,” Crebs said. “As tough as it was at first because of leaving my friends and not seeing them as much, (transferring to Central and playing for Coach McConaughy) has really helped me. It’s a perfect situation that I fell into.”

Crebs has been impressive thus far on the mound for the Knights in helping to lead them to a 14-2 record. He’s 3-0 with 40 strikeouts in 29 innings of work. For his career, he’s posted 12 victories in 16 decisions.

“This has been one of the most fun seasons I’ve been a part of,” Crebs said. “Coming into it, everyone was kind of nervous because we didn’t know what playing for Coach McConaughy would be like. He really knows his stuff and he has us playing with an old-school mentality.”

On top of his work at Park and now Central, Crebs also played for the Pittsburgh Outlaws travel organization as well as joining Chandler at times. Add everything up and it equals Division-I baseball.

“I definitely worked hard,” Crebs said. “It seems like we travelled all over the place playing, but it was worth it. At the time it was tough, but it’s been worth it. Playing against a lot of guys who were committed to big-time schools has really helped prepare me for the high school season and what’s ahead.”

Though he and his teammates hope for an extended postseason runs, Crebs, who has topped out in the upper 80s, knows he has plenty of work ahead to prepare for the next level. Currently, he admitted to feeling confident throwing three pitches — a fastball, slider and knuckle curve — for strikes.

“I have to continue to work on my secondary pitches,” Crebs said. “I’ve been working on a change-up because I know I’m going to have to be able to change speeds at the next level. I also need to get stronger and just continue to work on my craft.”

Crebs is joining a Fairleigh Dickinson program that’s 10-18 on the season and plays in the Northeast Conference.

Along with his baseball exploits, Crebs has also lettered in football, including last season with the Maroon Knights.

Away from athletics, Crebs is active in the community. He volunteers for the Miracle League, at the Soup Kitchen and he’s an alter server at his church.

Austin, who plans to major in business and marketing, is the son of Dave and Jamie Crebs.