Tyler Burkdoll, a 2008 Central Heights graduate, played for the Panthers in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Younger brother Trever got a first-hand look at the program. The Neosho coaches had a good idea of the intangibles of the younger Burkdoll.
Trever understood what it takes to be a member of that program, which has had one losing season in the previous 26 years under coach Steve Murry.
So, it was not a hard decision for the 2013 Central Heights grad to sign with the Panthers, who are coming off a sixth-place finish at the national tournament in 2012.
Burkdoll had a signing ceremony Wednesday in the Central Heights library.
“Trever already has beautiful actions in the field,” Neosho County assistant coach Scott Gurss said. “His brother is a Neosho alum, so Trever knows what is expected here.”
Burkdoll is part of a 18-player signing class.
Burkdoll said Tyler did not say anything to him that he did not know about the program.
“He always told me it is a great program,” Burkdoll said. “It is a good route to go. It is a good stepping stone to get to a bigger school.
“My goal is to go to K-State after this and play.”
Central Heights coach Jason Brown said Burkdoll has natural baseball instincts.
“He has that knack of knowing where the ball is going,” Brown said. “His fundamentals has been solid since T-ball. He has been a good defensive player [for me] since he was a freshman.”
Neosho penciled him in as a second baseman. Burkdoll plays the middle infield and pitches for the Vikings. He is expected to be the Viking ace this spring.
Burkdoll will play any infield position to get on the field for the Panthers.
Brown said Burkdoll has worked hard on his game.
“This is the kind of kid you want around in any program,” Brown said. “He will be one of the hardest working kids on the team. Coach Murry knows the kind of kid Tyler was. Trever is exactly the same. He has that family connection.”
Burkdoll has been an all-around athlete for the Vikings. He plays on the basketball team and was an all-state cross-country runner in the fall.
Burkdoll said those sports helped him grow as a person and baseball player and was one of the things that the Panther staff liked about him.
“Cross-country helps you mentally,” Burkdoll said.
Brown said, “He will be one of the best conditioned kids. Now that he is older he is getting the physical skills to go with it. He has been in the weight room a lot.”