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Academy grad makes the pitching grade at MIT

The home of the future could very well be designed by a pitcher from Albuquerque.

But Zeke Long is more than a baseball player. He’s also a freshman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yes, MIT.

“It’s been like a dream come true that I didn’t know I had,”  Long said. “I’ve been trying to play Division I baseball for a while and I could have but then I got accepted here. You can’t really deny going to MIT. And it’s been amazing. I absolutely love every minute of it.

“I applied because I thought it’d be cool if I got in. Once I got in, it became real, like I can really go to MIT.”

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Long, who was a four-year starter at Albuquerque Academy and was named first team All-State as a junior and senior, considered playing his collegiate ball at Tulane. But it doesn’t take someone with Long’s brains to realize the opportunity he had at MIT.

“I was really happy but I was also kind of terrified,” Long said. “It doesn’t really feel like a big-name school while you’re here but every once in a while it hits you and you’re like, ‘I’m at MIT right now, I’m at one of the best universities in the world.’ That thought is a little scary, that’s a lot of stress to be put under.”

Long is 2-1 with 12 strikeouts in 16 innings this year for the Engineers. But, as one would expect, he’s doing his most difficult work in the classroom.

Long’s class schedule includes Physics 2, Toy Product Design, Intro to Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Discrete Math for Computer Science.

“It’s MIT,” Long said. “The classes are really hard. But it’s a super cooperative environment because everyone is struggling through them together so you work together a lot. But the classes, they’re hard. There’s not much else to say about that.”

While the classes are understandably difficult, Long also must find a way to fit baseball into his schedule. Luckily, his coaches are willing to help with that.

Long says if practice is at 5 p.m. and he has a class that overlaps, coach Andy Barlow and his staff are accommodating. Long shows up when he can and gets his work in when his school schedule allows.

“The coaches are super understanding here,” Long said. “That’s one thing that is really nice about having such an academically focused school, is that the coaches understand that you’re here for academics first.”

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Long also understands why he’s at MIT. He is deciding between a major in computer science and a minor in mechanical engineering, or majoring in mechanical engineering with a focus on computer science. Whatever he decides, he knows what he wants to do after he finishes school.

“I want to make the home smarter,” Long said. “I want to make lights that dim when you want them to dim without you telling them to dim. It washes your dishes for you, does your laundry for you, stuff like that. It does little things around the house … so you don’t have to think about it.”

Before he gets around to making all of our lives easier, Long is using baseball as a way to improve his.

“In high school, I thought I’d be fine with going to college and not playing baseball,” Long said. “Looking back on it, I needed to play baseball. It’s such a stress relief for me and it’s so much fun that I couldn’t imagine not doing it.”

That stress relief could be something Long does for a living after MIT.

“I would love to have a future in baseball after college,” Long said. “If the opportunity presents itself I’m going to take it. But baseball is not my first career option. Of course I would play baseball but that’s not what I’m banking on.”

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