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Austin Preiss signs to pitch for UIW Cardinals

Austin Preiss signs to pitch for UIW Cardinals
MARK WALTON/ Austin Preiss of La Vernia is all smiles after signing his letter of intent to attend school and play baseball for the University of the Incarnate Word. He is joined by (back, l-r) his father, Gregory; his uncle, Ryan Preiss; his mother, Tammy; his sister, Kayla Preiss; (front) his grandmother, Darlene Preiss; and his grandfather, Chester Preiss.

When the early college signing date rolled around for high school seniors last month, Austin Preiss took advantage. The baseball pitcher decided on the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) in San Antonio, and is excited about being a member of the Cardinal baseball team.

Preiss is currently ranked as the No. 17 left-handed pitcher in Texas by Perfect Game. His UIW scouting profile describes him as “long and rangy with a loose arm.” It adds that he has an “above aver-age slider.”

“He projects to be a power pitcher as he gets bigger and stronger,” the profile reads. “He is expected to be a big piece of future UIW teams.”

The University of the Incarnate Word wasn’t the only school to pursue Preiss, though. He considered a number of colleges, including Texas A&M University, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State, and others. In the end, though, the decision to attend UIW was actually pretty easy.

“They really had the best offer,” Preiss said. “I went on an official visit. [I] got to hang with players. Great team. I knew it was the right place for me.”

The school’s proximity to La Vernia was not much of an issue for Preiss, as the school and campus felt right, and it wouldn’t have mattered where it was. The fact that it is so close to La Vernia, and that his parents work just minutes from the campus, turned out to be a bonus.

Preiss admits that once he moves on, he will miss his friends, and miss playing baseball for La Vernia High School. He said his most memorable game thus far was last year against Pleasanton. He closed out the game, and on the final out, the crowd erupted.

“It was incredible,” he said. “I had never felt anything like that.”

Preiss is excited about the opportunity to play at the collegiate level, though, and for the chance to compete against many of the schools that looked at him.

“I am looking forward to the great competition,” he said, “and to the travel all over state and country. We will have a lot of trips up north.”

Academically, Preiss said his favorite subject is history, and that he enjoys learning about the various world war eras. At UIW, however, he plans to major in criminal justice and kinesiology. He said he is grateful for the opportunity to further his education, in addition to playing baseball.

But Preiss still has one more season in a Bears uniform, and he plans to make the most of it.

“This year is going to be great,” he said. “This is a good team, and we are going to do everything to win state. We have to keep focused, and to put our hearts into the game. We have to play as one.”

In addition to the team goal of winning a state title, Preiss said he has a few personal goals, as well. Specifically, he would like to get the speed on his fastball up a bit. While many would be thrilled with the ability to hurl an 88 mph fastball, Preiss said he wants to consistently be at 91 or 92 this season. His ultimate goal is to play professional baseball, and he understands the hard work it will take.

All eyes will be on Preiss and the Bears in early 2015 as the team gets rolling and makes a bid for a state title. Folks will continue to watch and cheer for Preiss in a Cardinal uniform, and maybe even a professional uniform thereafter.

Good luck, Austin.

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