It was the call Adam Dowler was waiting for.
Dowler, an Oswego East sophomore, saw Purdue's baseball team play in a tournament last year. The Boilermakers' staff came and saw him throw, and he was in close contact with their pitching coach for months.
The connection ran deep. Both of Dowler's parents attended the Big Ten school in West Lafayette, Ind.
So when the offer came last week from Purdue, it didn't take Dowler long to decide.
"They were able to bump it up, give us a decent amount of money," Dowler said. "It was in the heart, too."
Dowler's future home will be where that heart is.
Dowler, a hard-throwing left-handed pitcher rated as the ninth-ranked sophomore in Illinois according to the Prep Baseball Report, made his verbal commitment to Purdue Friday evening.
"Xavier offered the day after, but it was Purdue," Dowler said.
"We couldn't be happier for him," Oswego East coach Matt Engelhardt said. "We know he's been working hard at it. It's always exciting to celebrate with someone when they get those opportunities."
Engelhardt sure is excited that he'll have Dowler for two more springs after this one.
Dowler was limited as a freshman because of tightness in his triceps, and did not log any innings at the varsity level.
But he's done a lot of running, massaging and heat treament to loosen it up. He's connected with a pitching coach recommended by his travel team, which helped. Dowler's fastball, which topped out at 83 last year, now touches 87.
Not bad for a sophomore with a strong 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame.
"When you have a lefty coming out that has that intimidating frame as a sophomore, it's like game over," Engelhardt said.
On a deep Wolves' pitching staff, Dowler's done much of his work this spring out of the bullpen. He's posted a 3-1 record with a 1.91 ERA and 29 strikeouts with just 13 hits and seven walks allowed over 14 2/3 innings. Dowler, recruited by Purdue as a potential two-way player, is also hitting .387 with a homer, 14 RBIs and a 1.008 OPS in 31 at-bats.
In a start Tuesday at Plainfield East, a 9-5 Wolves' win, Dowler struck out eight over four innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits.
"He's been lights out out of the bullpen," Engelhardt said. "Knowing that you're getting that day in and day out, it's a nice treat. You can tell the hard work that he has put in to get bigger and stronger at his craft. It's impressive to see."