Manhattan High’s Chase Knutson-Hagemann will be playing baseball practically in his own backyard next year.
The senior outfielder signed with Manhattan Christian College on Thursday. He said he picked MCC for its atmosphere.
“I went on a visit there, and it’s just a real family-like environment,” Knutson-Hagemann said. “I’m more of a small-community kind of guy.”
He added that he is excited to play close to home because his friends and family can come watch him.
The Thunder finished 19-21 last year.
Knutson-Hagemann took a long road to playing in college. He was assigned to the C team his sophomore year before suffering a back injury.
“When I got sent back down to C team, I just thought I could never overcome that obstacle,” he said. “It kind of shook my confidence a little bit. But it shows that working hard pays off.”
He said his family has been supportive of him throughout his career.
“My family has been by my side,” Knutson-Hagemann said. “I’m adopted, and so it’s really been a blessing to have great parents and great family support throughout my whole life.”
He also called playing next year a “blessing” but knows he has to continue to work hard.
“I’ve got to really keep improving and stick to the fundamentals and just have that winning mentality,” Knutson-Hagemann said.
But before joining the Thunder, he is focused on Manhattan baseball. He hopes to finish above .500 this year and make the state tournament.
“I really don’t have a lot of personal goals,” Knutson-Hagemann said. “I just want to help my team in any way possible and get us in the win column time and time again.”
The Indians’ season starts March 31 at Topeka West.