By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
McNary High School senior Matt Aguilar set his sights on playing college baseball at a young age.
“I played for KYSA and winning a state title made me push myself that much harder,” said Aguilar.
On Friday, Jan. 15, Aguilar signed a letter of intent to play for Lane Community College, taking the next step in his diamond journey.
“It means everything,” said Aguilar, “I’ve been working toward this since I was a little kid.”
Aguilar started out his McNary varsity career as a freshman pinch running for the elder players in the program. By his junior year, he was the starting shortstop for the team, a role he is expected to reprise this season.
“We have baseball players and kids who play baseball, both are important, but Matt is a baseball player,” said Larry Keeker, McNary head coach. “It’s because of the time and energy and effort he dedicates in the offseason to becoming a good baseball player. You need kids that are looking beyond high school because they anchor a team in many ways.”
Aguilar started looking at his options for college about four months ago and contacted LCC. That turned into a conversation with Aguilar’s summer ball coach and then an invitation to work out with the team.
“The workout went well and they offered me a position playing shortstop or second base,” Aguilar said. “I like the coach and his playing style and his way of talking to players. He’s a sturdy coach with an old school approach to the game.”
Keeker felt the program would be a good fit as well.
“He’ll have the chance to play right away and he’s already talking about looking at four-year schools and contacting them so his journey doesn’t end at Lane,” Keeker said.
Whether his career ends at LCC or some other school, Aguilar said he intends to be a leader on the varsity roster this spring.
“I’m really going to focus on getting wins for my team and being an overall teammate,” Aguilar said.