ELIDA — Brayden Lybarger already pitches at 93 mph, a rare feat for a high school senior. The Elida High School pitcher has been consumed by baseball since childhood, earning a spot on Elida’s varsity baseball team his freshman year and traveling with premier leagues throughout high school.
His passion paid off: Last fall, Lybarger signed with the University of Michigan, securing a four-year scholarship to the Big Ten school that he hopes will ultimately take him to the major leagues.
Lybarger ranks sixth in Ohio on Prep Baseball Report, an independent scouting service tracking high school and college athletes.
When he’s not playing for Elida, Lybarger travels with the Bo Jackson Elite team in Columbus and other teams. Last summer, after his junior-year season at Elida was canceled, Lybarger played in the Area Code and East Coast Pro showcases with the country’s top amateur athletes.
It all exemplifies what Elida coach Todd Grapner described as Lybarger’s work ethic and “God-given ability.”
“When your best player is also your hardest worker,” Grapner said, “it sets the tone for everybody else. That’s been one of his best attributes through all of this, his work ethic.”
Lybarger’s earliest memories are of watching his father, former Elida pitcher Brian Lybarger, play baseball. The younger Lybarger often joined in, quickly picking up the game himself. He joined his father as the elder Lybarger coached for Elida and Allen East, deepening his love of the game.
Lybarger now hopes to make a career of his sport, with dreams of getting drafted into the MLB and coaching thereafter.
“I am nothing but baseball,” Lybarger said. “That’s how I’ve always been.”