Elkhorn’s Ben Ayala didn’t need much time to deliberate this past weekend once the Creighton coaches asked him to consider joining their team in the future.
It took him maybe five minutes.
The hard-throwing right-hander had only been in close contact with the CU staff for a couple weeks. But he’s been following the Jays for some time. He’s attended games at TD Ameritrade Park and familiarized himself with the program’s culture.
So when the offer came on Friday, Ayala eagerly accepted it — almost on the spot. The 2022 recruit has committed to Creighton.
“I’ve always actually been a Bluejay fan — I like the atmosphere,” Ayala said by phone Monday. “I thought I connected with the coaches during our calls. It felt like a good fit at Creighton.”
Ayala’s live arm is most assuredly what put him on CU’s radar.
He stands at 6-foot-2 and regularly fires fastballs across the plate in the mid-to-upper 80s. He’s starting to find consistency with a cutter and he’s working to develop a slider and a changeup.
Elkhorn coach Kyle McCright said the sky’s the limit for Ayala, who seemed to improve outing by outing on the JV roster as a freshman one year ago.
“He’s really learned a lot,” McCright said. “As he gets older and develops, gets into the weight room and builds strength, the potential is really there.”
Ayala hopes to showcase some of his upside this summer as he and Elkhorn continue through the Legion baseball season. He said he may look to play some fall ball, too.
Anything that might help him improve.
Ayala’s velocity has always stood out, ever since he can remember, but he’s tried to stay committed to expanding all parts of his game, especially once he realized a couple years ago that he had the talent to earn a collegiate baseball roster spot.
He can play in the outfield for Elkhorn on non-pitching days this summer. He plans to be a one-sport athlete next year — to sharpen his focus on baseball.
“I’ve still got to keep working,” Ayala said.