Austin KeatonSport: BaseballPosition: ShortstopBat/throw: RightHeight: 6-2Weight: 190High school: PitmanColleges: MJC/Culver-Stockton College
For someone who has played baseball all his life, Austin Keaton is glad that he can continue his sport at the college level.He recently made it official by signing a letter of intent to play at Culver-Stockton College, a NAIA school in Canton, Mo. that sits on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. It was the only school that made a scholarship offer, as other interested teams wanted to have the 2008 Pitman High graduate come in as a walk-on.Keaton played under Pride varsity coach Mick Tate for two years before he went on to continue baseball at Modesto Junior College as a two-year starting shortstop. And now, he’s headed to Culver-Stockton to play for Coach Chris Terry, who first made contact with Keaton after his coaching staff watched Keaton compete for MJC during the regular season.“I’m really happy to continue playing baseball and hopefully have a good two years over there,” Keaton said.If it wasn’t for Culver-Stockton, he said he also considered returning to basketball — the other sport he starred in while at Pitman — and played for MJC.The only time Keaton has been in the Midwest was when he and his Modesto 16-to-18-year-old Babe Ruth team appeared in the 2008 World Series in Ohio. But he’s eager to continue his baseball career, as he plans on majoring in sports management at Culver-Stockton.Keaton never made an official visit, but he and his family researched the school. Keaton liked the direction of the Wildcats program, which, in the past two decades, has won several conference championships and made two NAIA World Series appearances.Though Keaton won’t make the move until mid-August, his parents aren’t looking forward to having him some 2,000 miles away. But they plan on watching the Wildcats games online.“We were lucky enough to have at least one of us attend every single MJC game the last two years,” said his mother, Mary Keaton. “Missing him play will be very difficult. We’ll be glued to the computer on game days for sure.”To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.