By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
Austen Pitts has been a contributor to Liberal High School’s football and wrestling programs.
But his first love has always been baseball.
He has been a three-year starter for the Redskins on the diamond, playing in the outfield and on the mound.
Wednesday, the recent LHS graduate signed a national letter of intent to play baseball for Oklahoma Panhandle State University, a Div. 2 four year institution.
“I met their assistant coach who is now the interim head coach,” Pitts said. “He is going to give me the opportunity to compete for a position on the field. This is a chance for me to play D-2 ball.”
Pitts made the move to the varsity level when Redskins head coach Eric Olmstead pulled him up as a freshman. He then became a three-year starter and brought a fire to the squad.
“He’s competitive,” Olmstead said. “He doesn’t like to lose. He was unselfish and did the little things for us.”
Pitts used his speed to help the Redskins. In his career at LHS, he was only caught stealing once in four years.
“His baseball IQ has improved a bunch,” Olmstead said. “His arm strength has improved. He’s not afraid to lay a bunt down.”
Pitts believed he would be ready for practices at the next level because Olmstead already implemented a collegiate-style practice for the Redskins.
Pitts will play with the Liberal Bulldogs this summer before joining the Aggies for fall ball.
“I need to shorten up this summer and work on putting the ball in play,” Pitts said. “I want to work on my batting average and on base percentage.”