Three Manhattan High baseball players signed letters of intent Wednesday morning to play baseball in college after their senior season this spring.
Infielder Jacob Biller, pitcher Henry de Noble and outfielder Kellen Myers all made their college decisions official in front of a packed auditorium of coaches, friends and family.
Biller chose Fort Scott, de Noble will attend Iowa Western and Myers chose Butler County.
Manhattan High baseball coach Don Hess said he’s proud of the work his group of seniors has put in.
“It’s incredible, not only for them and their families, but for our program and the school in general,” he said. “It speaks volumes about what can happen if you put in the time and work hard and are a good student — you can accomplish great things like this.”
The coach said he expects all will succeed in their college endeavors.
“These guys have been great ambassadors for our program, they are going to very good baseball programs in college and we’re very proud of each and every one of them,” Hess said. “All three of these guys are going to do very well because they’re hard workers. They’re going to achieve some great success in college.”
For Biller, the infielder will join a Fort Scott program that had the second-highest team GPA in the nation out of 396 Juco baseball programs last year. Biller was named a second-team Class 6A all-state second baseman last spring and also was the captain of the gold-medal winning USA baseball team at the 19th Maccabiah Games over the summer in Israel. Biller plans to major in sports leadership and management.
The senior said he was looking at several Jucos, but the academics and the high placement rates into four-year programs put the Greyhounds over the top.
“It was more tough turning down schools than accepting this one,” Biller said. “The coach, John Hill, what he preaches at Fort Scott is what I’m looking for. Good academics, good athletics with baseball and he really works hard and tries to get his kids placed in four-year schools afterward.”
For de Noble, the strong baseball tradition at Iowa Western made all the difference.
“I thought they were a premier program among Jucos, and they’ve one some national titles, and I wanted to be a part of trying to win another one,” de Noble said. “It’s a great program and a great school with an athletic background, so I thought it was a good place for me to go.”
De Noble was a first-team Class 6A all-state pitcher a season ago for the Indians. He will join former Indian Derek Francis in Council Bluffs, Iowa to pitch for the Reivers.
In the case of Myers, who also earned the starting quarterback job for the Manhattan High football team this fall, a visit to Butler was all he needed to commit to play for the Grizzlies.
“It was just an awesome school when I went down there on my visit,” Myers said. “The coaches were really nice, the program is awesome, they have very nice facilities. It’s really cool down there.”
Myers considered Cloud County and Newman University in Wichita, but instead chose Butler.
All three boys were excited to help lead the Indians in one final senior-laden season.
“I’m so excited for this upcoming season,” Biller said. “It’s going to be senior-dominant on the team, we’ve got great leaders and kids who work really hard and I think we’re going to put something real special together for this last season as seniors.”
Myers said the group has been working hard to make its goals a reality.
“I’m excited,” he said. “We’ve been working really hard and I feel like we have a really good team. I think we can make a good run at the state championship.”
Even Hess seemed excited about the possibility of returning to state after making it a year ago and losing to Olathe South in the tournament opener.
“Our goals each and every year are to pursue a state championship, and I think this group of guys that we have this year believes that also,” he said. “We’re ready to get going, when the time comes. Hopefully we can all figure out how to do this as a unit, and if we do, we’ll have a very successful season.”