January 18, 2020

Marshall catcher Mitch Blackstone commits to Cornell

After a productive summer with the Diamond Skills 17U travel team, Marshall senior Mitch Blackstone spent the month of August in the United Kingdom with his family. It offered him time away from baseball and the heightened recruiting interest he received.

Columbia, Harvard, Georgetown, Virginia Commonwealth and Cornell all wanted Blackstone on their campus upon his graduation in 2015, but he felt a special bond with Cornell. And when he arrived back in Northern Virginia from his European tour, the Big Red offered him a spot.

After learning of the offer, he submitted his transcript to the Ivy League school, and last Wednesday Cornell Coach Bill Walkenbach texted Blackstone to ask whether he was going to commit. Soon after Blackstone called Walkenbach to give his oral commitment to Cornell.

“I was impressed with everything about the school and the baseball program,” Blackstone said. “I figured Cornell was my number one choice, and the best offer you could get in my mind.”


Blackstone, the Conference 13 player of the year, 5A North region player of the year and first team all-state selection, has gone from a 5-foot-8 eighth grader to a 6-foot-3, 190-pound dynamo at the plate. He hit .511 with seven home runs and 29 RBI. Walkenbach began courting the standout catcher in the middle of July after he came to see Blackstone at an invitational at Catholic University. On the weekend of July 26, Blackstone took his visit to its Ithaca, N.Y., campus.

‘”I thought the baseball facilities were really nice, and I knew with it being Cornell I had a high expectation of what it would be,” Blackstone said. “The school is beautiful. It was drizzling while I was there, but I figured if I loved it on a not-so-good day, then on its best days it would be  an incredible experience.”

Blackstone is versatile enough to play catcher, first base and in the outfield. However, he spends most of his time behind home plate with the Statesmen. Blackstone said Cornell recruited him as a utility player, and he’s willing to play wherever he’s needed on the field for the Big Red.

“Personally, I’m most comfortable at catcher because I have been playing there for 10 years,” Blackstone said. “It’s my more natural position, and the game has come easy for me behind the plate. If I had to move I would do it, obviously it would be a learning curve, but I feel confident enough to take on the new position.”

The commitment to Cornell means there is a possibility he could face his older brother, Kent, whorecently transferred to George Mason. Last season, the Big Red traveled to Fairfax for a two-game series with the Patriots that the two teams split.

“If we played against each other, that would be one heck of an experience,” Blackstone said. “I remember playing with him as a freshman and he was the shortstop. Seems like that was yesterday.”

NUMBER CRUNCH: 3 Seventh-ranked South River scored three goals in just less than two minutes to edge No. 4 Broadneck 4-3 in field hockey. Broadneck jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half, but South River battled back in a thriller between the Anne Arundel rivals.

BREAKFAST LINKS  –In his first game as Quince Orchard’s head coach, John Kelley wins a 22-19 thriller against Clarksburg. Read about what his day was like leading up to and then getting his first win. –DuVal G/F Edward Polite committed to Radford and became the first player from Prince George’s County Class 4A to commit to a Division I school in the class of 2015. –As you prepare for another big slate of Friday night games check out the Post Top 20 and our Coaches’ Poll.

PHOTOS OF THE DAY:  Take a look at this gallery of Quince Orchard football Coach John Kelley’s day as he prepared for his first ever game.