BY SAM SCINTA WEEKLY REPORTER
OTHS Senior utility player Hayden Schaefer made his college decision final when he signed with McKendree University on Wednesday evening at the Panther Dome in front of coaches, teammates, and family.
Schaefer was a productive member of the 2016 Panthers, where he played Left Field while hitting a healthy .452 with three home runs and 11 RBI for the Southwestern Conference Champions.
“Hayden was a guy that stepped into our lineup about the middle of last season and became a difference maker,” OTHS Head Coach Jason Portz told the Weekly. “He’s a guy that has the potential to be a player on the Division I level, he’s that good.”
The signing highlights a trend developing for McKendree Head Coach Danny Jackson in Lebanon, as he has focused heavily on pulling in talent from the Metro East for his team as they prepare to transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II.
“McKendree is a great opportunity for him,” Portz added. “I really think he is the kind of player that is going to go out there and make an impact for that program.”
Schaefer will play Center Field in his senior season with the Panthers, but hopes to make the move to Shortstop once he joins the Bearcats.
“I really liked the environment the coaches had created with the guys that were there,” Schaefer said of his decision. “I want a coach that will care not only about my development as a player but also as my development as a man, and I think I found that in Coach Jackson.”
“This is a goal fulfilled for Hayden and we look forward to following him in his continued success at the next level of baseball after his senior year,” Portz said.
The OTHS Baseball team announced on Twitter that they will play against Hillsboro (MO) on Saturday April 8th following the conclusion of the game between the Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium during Opening Weekend. The Cardinals game is scheduled to start at 1:15.