POMONA — Mitchell Walters is an all-around athlete for West Franklin High School. He is a standout football and baseball player for the Falcons.
On top of all that, he is a good student with character. Walters has been trying to figure out his college future with graduation just around the corner.
He wanted a school with a good engineering program.
He found one pretty close to home in Baker University in Baldwin City. Wildcat baseball coach Phil Hannon, who has been coaching at Baker since 1999, caught wind of his interest in the school.
“Mitchell came up and worked out for me,” Hannon said. “He has been up twice. One time he worked out with our players. We like what he brings to the table.”
Walters liked what Baker offers and made it official Thursday by signing with the Wildcats in the West Franklin library.
“I chose Baker because of the education part,” Walters said.
Hannon sold him on the baseball part.
“We sat down and talked for two hours,” Walters said. “He takes so much interest in [his players].”
Hannon sees a lot of potential in Walters, who catches and pitches for the Falcons.
“His athleticism is really good and his size,” Hannon said. “He will be a player that will grow into his body ... 6-3, 6-4 frame. He is somebody we can play at multiple positions. He can be a corner type guy that can hit with power. We are going to get him adjusted to the college game.
“We build our program with a lot of character kids. He comes in with a presence that has good character and leadership qualities. We are lucky to have him.”
Walters said having the ability to play multiple positions will benefit him and the Wildcats.
“It is more opportunities for playing time,” he said. “I want on the field to play.”
Hannon figures Walters fits right in with the present Wildcats and those he is recruiting.
“We recruit athletes,” Hannon said. “We will mold them into the player we need to have either be it a corner guy or pitching guy. Mitchell fits right into that framework. You want your team to be versatile. It causes good competition on the team.”
Walters said he likes both football and baseball, but baseball is a game he plays year round.
“I have a knack for baseball,” he said.
Walters said the workouts with the Baker squad went smoothly. He found a third baseman, who also was a converted catcher, and took tips from him.
The Falcon felt at ease and saw some things he liked.
“They always play hard,” Walters said. “Coach Hannon expects our best. It is like what we have here. Our programs are similar. That is what drew me in.
“They are a family. They always do stuff together. That is why I felt it was the right place.”