Brandon Eike has had a summer to remember.
Within the past month, the rising Powhatan High School senior became a tournament MVP with his Canes National 17u team in Florida and helped his Canes win the 376-team WWBA 17u National Championship tournament in Georgia as the winning pitcher.
Then, on Tuesday evening, Eike added another distinguished title beside “national champion” and “MVP.”
He is now a North Carolina Tar Heels Baseball commit.
“It’s a pretty big deal to me – I just wanted to find a place that I was happy in and I just felt like that was the perfect fit for me,” Eike said. “I loved everything about it.”
Eike likes the way that UNC Baseball goes about things, their “blue-coach approach to everything, the hospitality and the coaching staff.” The coaches, he said, like to work.
“They’re about their business, and I think that’s what makes them so good – just work ethic,” Eike said.
He spoke to wanting to be in a winning program with similar guys like him who have a similar approach, want to win and like to work. He’ll join a program that definitely knows how to win, as the Tar Heels captured the 2019 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Tournament Championship and assembled a 46-19 record.
Eike had been a Virginia Tech commit since sophomore year, but on the evening of July 4, 2019, he announced he was reopening his recruitment process.
“It was pretty hard on me,” he said. “I had to sit long and hard and think about it, and it just was the right choice for me to make at the time.”
He found his new home through “mainly just playing with the great coaches” he’s had over the summer; “they have endless connections with almost anybody in the country.” Playing with the Canes’ players also helped a lot.
“All the guys I’m playing with are extremely good,” Eike said. “They’re all going to a similarly good program [like] UNC, so it’s always good to play with guys with similar skill sets – and just always pushing yourself to be better.”
As he did with Virginia Tech, Eike is committing to UNC with the rare Division I designation of two-way player. He joins the Tar Heels both as a pitcher and infielder.
“Two-way is pretty hard to do in the ACC,” Eike noted. “But until either pitching or hitting really sticks out, it’s kind of: you do both until you kind of break out as one or another.”
Eike has shown that he can get the job done in the field, on the mound and beside the plate. He led his young and talented Powhatan Baseball team to the 2019 regional quarterfinals with a pitching performance that saw him go 9-1 on the hill with a 0.87 ERA, 103 strikeouts and a thin 11 walks in 52 innings pitched, as well as with an incendiary bat with which he hit .411, launched 10 doubles, delivered three home runs and tallied up 15 RBIs.
Eike for the 2019 spring season was named to First Team All-Metro for pitcher, made All-State for both pitcher and shortstop and earned Region 4B Player of the Year honors.
He earned both the start and the win on the mound in the Canes’ WWBA national championship game, pitching the first three and two-thirds innings and limiting the opponents to 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6 batters. He and his Canes denied the Dallas Patriots 17u Stout, 8-3, for the prestigious title. Eike earlier in the month said his fastball in the tournament was in the 89-91 mile-per-hour range, and according to Perfect Game, he was also throwing a 76-mph curveball.
In the Wilson Premier Championship East tournament in Florida held late June, Eike earned tournament MVP honors, and he and his Canes won the tournament championship 3-0 over the Coastal Prospects.
Eike looks forward to coming in, working hard as he can and “seeing how it goes from there” with the Tar Heels.
“It’s awesome – definitely a great program,” he said of UNC. "I’m definitely really excited to get to work up there.”