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Hopkinton’s Nelson to play Division I baseball at Pennsylvania

Former Hopkinton High pitcher Jake Nelson is heading to Division I after committing to pitch for the University of Pennsylvania Monday night.

Nelson, a hard thrower whose fastball has been clocked in the low 90s, will join the school’s Class of 2019 after playing this spring at Phillips Andover, and will hope to join a rotation that is losing some of its top starters.

“They’ve got a lot a lot of innings freed up, so they’re looking at me to eat a lot of innings right away, and do a lot of damage,” he said. “Starter roles are opening up, so I’m going to hope to take one.”

The decision came down to Penn and Elon, and when the university offered a spot in its prestigious Wharton Business School, Nelson was sold.

“That was really hard for me to turn down,” he said. “I was really excited about that.”

Nelson’s high school coach, Dave Chase, was happy to see his former ace take the next step.

“There was a lot of pressure (last year), and I thought he handled it very well,” he said. “The kid was a worker. He didn’t just show up and decide he wanted to be a baseball player. When other kids were at the beach, he was playing baseball. You’ve got to applaud him for his efforts and reaching his goal.”

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