Senior to play baseball at ‘dream school’


Photo Courtesy of Zane Mills

Senior Zane Mills pitches the ball during a game against Madison on April 10. Mills will play baseball for the Washington State Cougars next year.

A kid with a passion. A passion that turned into a dream. A dream that turned into an accomplishment.

It was at the unofficial college visit in the coaches’ office of Washington State University where Zane Mills sat, his father at his side.

Mills was amazed by the amount of sponsored gear scattered upon the desks. No other college he had visited had received such elite premium athletic wear.  

On the table laid a hefty packet of papers. It didn’t take long to figure out what was happening, because on the very top of the stack lay the ticket Mills had been  hoping to receive throughout his whole childhood.

“Zane, we’d like to make you a competitive offer.”

For Mills, a long worked for dream became reality when he was offered an opportunity to compete at the highest level of college baseball with Washington State University, a Division I university contending in the Pac-12 NCAA conference.

“I kind of fell in love with the campus while I was there,” says Mills.

Since the age of five, Mills has been dreaming of playing division one baseball. However, he never considered himself capable of doing so.

“I always knew I was good, but honestly, I didn’t think I had the talent to play D1,” says Mills.

Lincoln head varsity baseball coach CJ Watson is now in his fourth year of coaching Lincoln, which places Mills among Watson’s first freshman class. They have both stayed on the same time track the past four years which has enabled them to grow together through the program.

“I remember seeing him for the first time knowing where he could get,” says Watson.

Before his coaching careers at George Fox University and Lincoln, Watson played a four year career at Concordia University, a Division II college in Portland. Through his baseball experience, both coaching and playing, he is familiar with the challenging road ahead of Mills.

“Division I baseball is a lot different from high school,” says Watson. “That’ll be an adjustment for him and he’ll face some adversity.”

Even though Mills will likely face some challenges during his college baseball experience, the pressure is nothing new for him. Throughout his first three years at Lincoln, he was on the honorable mention list after completing his sophomore season and was awarded second all PIL team upon finishing his junior year season, where he was also named the number four player in the state of Oregon. The Portland Tribune  awarded Mills with athlete of the week during this 2018 baseball season, his senior year. Some other noteworthy awards include Anaheim Lions first team all tournament and a selection to play in the East vs. West tournament in San Diego (where he would be playing against the top 10 teams in the nation).

Most of Mills success has been found in baseball, but he has not limited himself to one sport. He was team captain of the Cardinal’s football team, where he earned first team as a tight end for all of PIL.

Now that Mills is a senior, Watson has nothing but high praise for the past and future alongside the young Lincoln prospect.

“We are really proud of the dedication he has put into his craft,” says Watson. “I know he can go and pitch at (the division I) level.”

Through the eyes of Watson, Mills’ outgoing personality and work ethic represents the baseball program perfectly.

For himself, Mills sees a bright future.

“After college, I’d like to play a couple of years in pro ball,” says Mills. “If I can stay healthy, and continue to improve my game, it’s a very attainable goal.”

Mills’s baseball career has been a series of setting and accomplishing goals. Perhaps his most important goals are set in the future. For the opportunities he has been given up to this point, he thanks his parents and coaches for always being there in support of his choices.

“I couldn’t thank coach Watson and coach Blake enough for helping through this process and knowing they have my back at all times no matter what happens.”

Mills will be wearing the Cardinal wherever he goes. With an opportunity to play for Washington State, we all stand proud of yet another successful athlete to come out of the Lincoln athletic program. Perhaps in the near future, we will be able to tune into the radio for a MLB broadcast, or even better, a world series, and hear- “Zane Mills steps up to the plate.

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