Gavin Kilen hasn’t played one inning of high school baseball.
The 14-year-old is a freshman at Janesville Craig.
Yet the University of Louisville saw enough of Kilen’s talents this past summer to offer him a scholarship to one of the nation’s top Division I programs. Kilen verbally committed to Louisville on Oct. 28 after attending a two-day evaluation camp there.
A five-tool player who has only scratched the surface talent-wise, the shortstop/pitcher will be part of Louisville’s 2022 class. Kilen felt a connection the minute he stepped on campus last Saturday.
“It’s pretty exciting to know that someone wants you,” Kilen said of Louisville. “And that’s the feeling I got when I was down there last weekend.
“But I’ve still got a lot to prove to them as a player, so that’s why I’ll continue working hard and put in a ton of work on and off the field.”
If Kilen stays committed to Louisville, he will join one of the the most successful DI programs in the country.
Since Dan McDonnell took over as head coach in 2006, Louisville has won more games than any other DI program in the country, has been to the College World Series four times and has had 76 players selected in the MLB Draft.
Kilen spent last summer playing for Hitters Baseball Club out of Caledonia. He first caught the attention of the Louisville coaching staff at a Hitters elite camp earlier this summer.
Two weeks ago played at a Louisville Slugger tournament in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he once again turned the heads of the Louisville coaching staff with his power and speed, along with his arm and range at shortstop. That led to an invitation to attend Louisville’s weekend camp Oct. 27-28 where he made the verbal commitment.
Kilen is the son of Chris and Kristina. His father led Janesville Parker to the Division 1 state tournament in 1992 and later pitched in the same rotation as former Milwaukee Brewers ace Ben Sheets at Northeast Louisiana State.
Chris said his son is making a name for himself thanks to a strong work ethic and natural ability.
“It’s a great situation for him if it works out,” Chris said of Gavin attending Louisville. “They’ve got first-rate facilities, a great coaching staff and everything you would want for your child as far as school goes.
“And Gavin knows that nothing is guaranteed. This is just a verbal commitment, so he’ll continue to do the right things, work hard and try and reward them for believing in him at such a young age.”
Gavin Kilen isn’t even old enough to drive. But when it comes to baseball, he’s got a bright future in front of him.