Morris Redskins seniors Brian “Bubba” Henry and Jake Capko have gotten to know each other pretty well throughout their high school careers as battery mates. Henry, a right-handed pitcher has helped the Redskins off to a 10-2 start by going 5-0 on the mound, while Capko has been a cog in the Redskins lineup and a key to Morris’ success from behind the plate.
The two will also have an opportunity to get to know each other even better after high school, as they’ve both elected to further their baseball careers at Illinois Wesleyan University. There, they’ll play under legendary Titans head coach Dennis Martel.
Martel is currently coaching in his 26th season in Bloomington, and he’s compiled a 654-403-3 record as the head coach at Wesleyan. He also won a national championship in 2010, and that recent success, combined with the coaching staff they’ve assembled played major factors in the decisions of both Henry and Capko.
“I took visits to other schools, but I liked their coaches there a lot,” Henry said. “Their campus is small, but it’s actually bigger for a D-III school, and it’s just a really great program.”
“Honestly, Wesleyan wasn’t really on my list at all,” Capko added. “One tournament, me and my dad just started talking to the coach and he expressed some interest. I went for a visit, and I loved it. It’s like a family.
“Coach Martel is the head coach and he’s a great guy. He knows a lot about the game. Then, the catching coach, Coach Brown, is the one that I met who recruited me down at that tournament. He played in the minors for a few years and he’s pretty much the one that got me interested.”
Both Henry and Capko both expect to continue their current roles with the Redskins down in Bloomington. Henry will work exclusively as a pitcher for the Titans, while Capko will reprise his role as the backstop.
In the classroom, Henry hopes to go into the accounting program while Capko is currently leaning towards going into something business-related. Having one another there to support each other also factored into the decision.
“Bubba’s got a ton of potential, and I’m excited to see what he has in store for us the rest of the season and over the next four years. He’s gonna keep growing and he’s gonna keep throwing harder,” Capko said.
The two longtime teammates also plan on being future roommates.
“I think it will be nice. I’ll always have that one person to fall back on. I’ll get to meet new people, but Jake will be there too,” Henry said.
Both Henry and Capko are solid students and they’re set to enroll at Illinois Wesleyan in the fall, while baseball season won’t actually begin until their second semester. In the meantime, having the decision of college out of the way will allow the pair to focus on their senior season at Morris.
“We get to focus a lot more now and having fun and playing the game with our friends,” Capko said.
“It feels nice because now I can concentrate on just getting wins instead of worrying about where I’m gonna go,” Henry added. “I don’t have to worry about going to other schools and seeing their coaches and seeing what they got, so I’m excited I can just go out and play.”