By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ALEXANDRIA — Owen Young comes from a famous baseball family, but he's quickly made a name for himself.
And soon the Alexandria junior slugger will be taking his talents to the Big Ten.
Last month, Young agreed to spend his college days at Ohio State, playing for former Ball State coach Greg Beals' rising program.
"They have a great facility and great coaches," Young said. "And they have a real good chance of winning when I get there."
The Buckeyes have improved from 26-27 in Beals' debut season of 2011 to 33-27 in 2012 and 35-23 last year. The team is off to a 15-7 start this season and has been raiding Indiana for talent.
Ohio State's current freshman class includes Greenfield-Central's Curtiss Irving and Mount Vernon's Troy Montgomery. Zionsville's Troy Kuhn and Chesterton's Jake Post are in their second year of eligibility with the Buckeyes, and Lapel's Brady Cherry will join Young in the recruiting class of 2015.
Young came onto Ohio State's radar when pitching coach Mike Stafford watched him play during a baseball clinic last summer in Bloomington, and Alexandria coach Jeff Closser doesn't believe the first baseman will have trouble making the adjustment to the next level.
"He would be a good fit for any program," Closser said. "He's been around the block, and he's going to be a good player when he matures."
Young led the Tigers with a .404 batting average last season and added 11 doubles, one triple, one homer and 21 RBIs. He'll hit in the third slot of an Alexandria lineup that returns five regulars after winning a sectional championship.
The Tigers are ranked third in the Class 2A preseason coaches poll and have their sights set on a trip to Victory Field for this year's state finals.
"I'm very excited," Young said. "We have a lot of expectations, but we know what we need to do in order to win."
With two years to go before his arrival in Columbus, Ohio, Young's role for the Buckeyes is still in the planning stages. He expects to compete for playing time at several positions and be used in a utility role as a freshman.
Young has impressive baseball bloodlines. His father, Dmitri, played for 13 seasons in the major leagues with the Cardinals, Reds, Tigers and Nationals. An uncle, Delmon, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 amateur draft and has played for the Rays, Twins, Tigers and Phillies before landing with the Orioles this spring.
But his mother, Rebecca, has been the greatest influence in his life. An Alexandria native, she moved back to her hometown before Young's freshman year of high school.
With the Tigers, Young quickly has blossomed into a star. He chose Ohio State over Dayton and Xavier and said the Buckeyes have simple expectations for him.
"Come in and compete," Young said, "and help them win."