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Hall senior Brett Fanning (seated, center) held a signing ceremony Tuesday at Hall before he signed his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday morning to play college baseball at Upper Iowa University. Also at the ceremony were his parents Rachel and Todd Fanning (seated), Hall assistant baseball coach Josiah Martin (standing, left), Hall baseball coach Tom Keegan (standing, center) and Hall athletic director Eric Bryant. NewsTribune photo/Jared Bell
A three-sport star at Hall High School, the senior has always considered himself more of a baseball player than a football or basketball player, so when it came time to choose a sport to play in college he never hesitated.
Fanning made his college choice known Tuesday as he held a signing ceremony at Hall to announce he will play college baseball at Division II Upper Iowa University located in Fayette, Iowa.
He then made his decision official Wednesday morning when he signed his National Letter of Intent.
“I never really considered basketball or football. I always wanted to play baseball in college,” admitted Fanning, who was a two-year starting quarterback in football and a three-year varsity player in basketball. “I never really thought of playing anything else.”
Upper Iowa is glad he didn’t.
A three-year varsity baseball player, Fanning is the second member of his family to play a college sport after his brother Gregg played college basketball.
“He’s a kid who you can depend on, both inside the school building and the classroom as well as all the extracurriculars that he’s involved in,” Hall baseball coach Tom Keegan said. “There’s no drama that goes with him. He does what he’s supposed to do.”
Fanning also considered Lewis University in Romeoville and the University of Illinois-Springfield, but his only college visit was to Upper Iowa, which is located nearly 3 ½ hours from Spring Valley.
“I just really liked it the first time I visited,” Fanning said. “I liked that I knew a kid from this area who was already on the team, and they made me feel at home when I was there. They said if you don’t do well your first try they’re not going to just forget about you. They are going to keep you in the rotation.”
A pitcher and a shortstop at Hall, Fanning will exclusively pitch at Upper Iowa. He expects to be a starting pitcher, but knows his role on the team will be defined further once he arrives on campus next fall.
“I like it more that I can just focus on pitching and not have to worry about how I am hitting the ball or my fielding percentage,” Fanning said.
After pitching limited innings on varsity for Hall as freshman, Fanning had a breakout season as a sophomore and followed it up as a junior.
Last season, Fanning went 6-3 on the hill with a 0.92 ERA and 74 strikeouts. At the plate, he hit .346 with 25 runs scored and 14 RBIs to earn NewsTribune Second-Team All-Area honors for a second straight season.
This season, Fanning is 3-1 with a 3.68 ERA with 43 strikeouts and 23 hits allowed. At the plate, he’s hitting .429 with seven doubles.
“I think he really proved (he was a college player) last year,” Keegan said. “He just came through for us, and that’s probably the best way to put it. I’m very excited for him.”
At Upper Iowa, Fanning will join 2012 La Salle-Peru graduate Cody Booker, who is a freshman catcher.
“I’ve talked to him a lot and he said he liked it a lot,” Fanning said. “There doesn’t seem like there’s a lot to do out there, but there really is a lot to do.”
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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