Centralia senior Cameron Erickson had more than a few college baseball programs to choose from following his Saturday signing event in which he chose Grays Harbor College.
Erickson began getting interest from colleges the summer after his sophomore season, the last full season he played. He batted .324 that year and ended up being named 2A Evergreen second-team all-league as a catcher. After that, college coaches took notice.
He reached out to every school that contacted him to get a feel of their program and decide if they were the right fit. But recruiting slowed to a crawl last year as the 2020 high school season was wiped out entirely due to the pandemic. The Tigers were able to get one doubleheader in the day before everything shut down. In the midst of the recruiting process, Erickson was forced to lean on his summer league team to get his name out there.
Erickson began playing for Thurston County Saints, which brought a lot of their alumni back last summer to play in alumni games, such as Timberline grad Matt Mercer, who was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 5th round of the 2018 MLB draft.
Bringing in guys like that brought in a ton of people to the games, including some college coaches and scouts. Erickson played in about 40 games last summer, oftentimes one or two games a day while the season lasted.
“I’m blessed to play with that team,” Erickson said. “They, honestly, probably got me the opportunity to have Grays Harbor have a first look at me and know they want me. From going to no baseball to that much baseball, it was the best for me.’
He talked to GHC coach Bruner just once before he took an official campus visit. It was by chance it even happened at all. The Tigers’ football team was slated to play Tumwater in week three on Feb. 20, but the game ended up being canceled. That opened up a rare weekend off for Erickson.
“Unfortunately it got canceled, but it opened a new window for me and you’ve got to jump through that window,” Erickson said. “We took the visit right away, fell in love with the place and gave them that commitment right there and then.”
It also helped that GHC coach Mike Bruner is friends with former Centralia coach Rex Ashmore. The two were teammates at Centralia College and Erickson knew they had similar coaching styles, ones that helped Erickson achieve success on the field the past three years.
“I just loved the way Rex coached and Bruner really reminded me of Rex,” Erickson said. “I just felt at home in Aberdeen. What more could you want out of a school beside feeling at home?”
Now Erickson is looking forward to finishing out his high school career and heading off to Aberdeen to continue his baseball-playing days with the Chokers. The team’s class of 2021 commits, which range from Texas to Idaho to Utah, have a group chat on Snapchat where the players have started to get to know each other.
“I’ve already bonded with so many of those players,” Erickson said. “They’re just great kids. I’m honestly just looking forward to those teammates. Those are some great guys and we have some good signees coming in.”