Editor’s Note: This story was written by and republished with the permission of the Big Red Sports Network, which provides excellent Cornell sports coverage throughout the year for alumni, parents, students and fans everywhere.


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For some student athletes, Cornell marks the first time they have to compete for their spot. But competition and big schools are not new to the student athlete out of Katy, Texas.

Although freshman catch Ellis Bitar was born in the city of Houston, and pulls for the Astros, he’s a Katy product. The town of Katy “used to be all rice fields,” but has “really blown up” recently, Bitar explains.

Bitar attended Seven Lakes High school, a school of around four thousand students, were he called his best moment on the baseball field going 3-3 with two doubles and a home run in the playoffs of his sophomore season. The Texas area grows more than rice. It breeds talent. “Every ace we faced was throwing 90,” Bitar stated.

Bitar has been playing baseball since he was four years old, but only first played catcher seriously when he was “13 or 14.” One of his teams needed a catcher, and he was moved because of his athleticism. Bitar took to liking it and now he will be behind the plate for the Big Red. Bitar identified his strengths as his arm, and his footwork and quickness behind the plate, and says he bases his game on Giants’ star Buster Posey. He’s still working on framing pitches.

Bitar was first noticed by Cornell in Stanford, California at a camp frequented by Ivy League schools. After visiting, he felt “It worked. It was a better fit for me [than Columbia]. This is my best option.” Bitar thought, adding “It’s been great.”

Great when he figures out the TCAT bus system first. Bitar and his roommate, fellow freshman Trey Baur, got on a bus thinking it was going to Dryden Road. It took them to the town of Dryden instead. Chalk it up as a learning experience.

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.