Wilson signs with the Cougars

Ty Wilson's passion for baseball runs deep.

The Scottsbluff High School senior won't have to go far to continue playing the game he loves at the next level after he signed a letter of intent to play for Mike Jones and the Western Nebraska Community College baseball team on Tuesday.

"I'm coming here because I have always wanted to play for Coach Mike Jones," Wilson said. "He helped me through most of my baseball career. This is also a good place for me to start off with."

Wilson, who plans to major in civil engineering, had plans of attending the University of Nebraska Omaha right out of high school. But he decided that this was his best route.

"Staying here helps me a lot because I know everybody in this city and I don't have to get used to anything going to a whole new school," Wilson said. "It will be a little bit different practicing with different guys, but I should be able to get used to it."

Last season playing for Mark Moran and the WESTCO Zephyrs senior legion program, Wilson was exceptional. Wilson led the team in home runs with six, had 51 runs batted in, and scored 50 runs in his first year with the Zephyrs.

Wilson said his game improved a ton after moving up through the Twin Cities programs. He said the toughest adjustment for him was moving from the junior to the senior team.

"I started playing in the American League of the 23 Club. I've grown and I have got bigger," he said. "The biggest jump was going from the Express to the Zephyrs."

Wilson said his home-run power last season was a surprise to him.

"Honestly, when I did hit my home runs I wasn't expecting to get a home run. They just kind of happened," he said. "Most big leaguers will tell you that is what happens. I am just trying to place the ball where I need to when I go up to bat. The home runs just come to me."

Jones, who is entering his 12th year as WNCC's coach, said Wilson is the type of player who can do it all.

"He brings a lot of things to the team like his athletic ability and he can play multiple positions," Jones said. "We want him to play second base, but he can play multiple positions. And, with him being an offensive guy, making the jump into college you have to be able to score runs and be able to hit. If you have a hitter at every position, you will be a better ball club. He brings us a hitter's mentality, an offensive type of mind, and a guy that is ready to step up and be ready to play. He will not be scared. He has enough courage that he will step in and play."

Jones said Wilson has developed as a baseball player throughout his career.

"It is nice to see him develop from being a boy to a young man, while watching him come through camps to watching him play with his legion team and traveling teams," Jones said. "I know his background. He will fit in real well and make us all proud."

Wilson helped lead WESTCO to a 37-23 record a year ago and a berth in the Class A state tournament. He's looking forward to another season with the Zephyrs again this year.

Wilson's addition to the Cougars gives the roster quite a local flavor. The current Scottsbluff and Gering graduates on the WNCC team include Nate Marquez, Grant Rimington, Tharyn Curtis, and Joe Moran.

This year's WNCC baseball team will open its season Feb. 9-10 with home games against McCook Community College.

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