CLIFTON PARK — Jake Reinisch thought he was starting up his recruitment process.
Turned out, he was finishing it.
“Next thing I knew,” Reinisch said, “I was figuring out where I was going to college.”
That will be at Wake Forest University, an ACC school Reinisch — a 16-year-old rising Shenendehowa junior — committed to play baseball for earlier this week.
Reinisch served as a designated hitter and played third base last spring for Shenendehowa, and amassed a .429 on-base percentage in 14 games after Plainsmen head coach Greg Christodulu called the then-sophomore up to the varsity level a few weeks into the season.
“We brought him up with the intention he was going to play, and he did a good job. There was an adjustment period getting used to the pace of the varsity game — and the pitching, which obviously is at a different level — but his teammates really welcomed him with open arms. He was very much part of the group right away,” Christodulu said. “What he’d showed on JV was he was just dominating opposing pitching. He was hitting at a level that you don’t typically see at JV baseball in this area. We had to challenge him a little more.”
While he could move to a different infield position as his high school career progresses, Reinisch said he expects to play third base at Wake Forest. That is likely where he slots full-time into the Shenendehowa infield next year, too.
“But he’s capable, really, of playing any of the infield positions,” Christodulu said.
Earlier this summer, Reinisch attended a pair of elite college camps on the campuses of West Virginia and Wake Forest. While the camps had host schools, other college coaches were able to attend the camps to look for potential recruits — and the 6-foot-2, 190-pound infielder caught the attention of Wake Forest head coach Tom Walter’s coaching staff at the Demon Deacons’ camp.
“I was just going to these places to get some exposure and hopefully a coach from there would come to my games next spring or summer,” Reinisch said. “But it moved fast, and I was lucky enough to get it all set.”
Not long after attending last month’s two-day Wake Forest camp, Reinisch started hearing from the school’s coaching staff about a potential scholarship and spot on the program’s team.
“Before camp got started, I toured around the campus and I just loved it,” said Reinisch, who wants to become a school guidance counselor. “I played pretty well at the camp, and a week or so later I got a call from their coach and he gave me an offer. I was so excited because I loved the school.”
Reinisch’s father — Troy athletic director Paul Reinisch — played baseball at Wake Forest before the Detroit Tigers drafted him in 1990, but the teenager said that past connection was not a deciding factor in making his college choice.
“Wake just checks all the boxes for me,” said Jake Reinisch, who also plays basketball at Shenendehowa.
With a laugh, Reinisch admitted his college sports rooting allegiance has long been to a different ACC school.
He knows that has to change.
“I had been a Duke fan my whole life,” Reinisch said. “My dad doesn’t really like that.”