Baseball players strike college offers

For most high school athletes, the last game of their senior year signals  the end of their  playing career. That is not the case this year, however, for four Lincoln baseball players who will be playing at the next level.

Gabe Skoro, Brandon Leitgeb, Jon Fortner and Baxter Halligan are all planning to  play college ball for at least the next four years.

The class of 2017 produced a tremendous amount of baseball talent, especially when considering the number of Division 1 athletes that come out of all Lincoln High School sports.

Skoro, an outfielder, will go on to play at the University of Portland. Skoro received only one Division I offer but had numerous Division II and junior college opportunities as well.

He couldn’t pass up the University of Portland, however, as it marked off many of the things on his wish list. Besides being a Division I school, UP is close to home and Skoro also wanted to ensure that he received a good education.

¨I was looking for a really good academic school in case the whole baseball thing didn’t work out,¨ said Skoro.

Leitgeb, a third baseman, will be a preferred walk on at the University of Washington in Seattle. That means he was invited to join the team, but so far hasn’t received a scholarship.  Earning this opportunity was big for Leitgeb, as Washington had always been a dream school for him.

¨My dad went there and I’ve always been around Washington, [so] when I got that opportunity it was kind of a done deal¨ said Leitgeb.

Baxter Halligan, a first baseman and left-handed pitcher, committed to Northern Colorado University in Greeley after receiving two Division I offers, the other being from University of Pacific.

Halligan, who has  played baseball for 12 years, quit both water polo and swim team to focus on baseball following his junior year. Halligan didn’t grow up playing in Portland,  but rather in Bend, where he lived until his junior year. Moving to Portland gave Halligan more exposure.

¨I began talking to a lot more schools after moving here,¨ said Halligan.

Jon Fortner, a right-handed pitcher, received countless Division III and junior college offers, however, his sights were set on playing Division I.

Two Division I schools showed enough interest that he eventually received offers from University of Portland and High Point University in High Point, North Carolina. For Fornter, the decision came down to a few important factors.

“I wanted to get away from home and I also really liked the High Point coaches and campus a lot,” said Fortner.