TENINO — There was a whole lot of green and gold mixed in with the usual red and black Wednesday morning in the library at Tenino High School, as senior Kellan Knox put pen to paper on National Signing Day, inking his commitment to play baseball at Oregon next year.
“It’s exciting,” Knox said. “I’m just happy for everything. It’s been a long journey, a lot of hard work.”
Knox — who had stayed off the mound for two seasons after multiple arm injuries — earned first-team all-league honors in the 1A Evergreen as a junior this past spring for a season that saw him hit .404 with three home runs and 29 RBIs. But once he got back to pitching in the summer, it was the fastball clocked in the low-to-mid 90s that really drew the attention of college coaches. As the summer went on, the offers, from junior colleges and Division I programs alike, started coming in.
But for Knox, whose parents are from Sandy, Ore., and grew up a Ducks fan his whole life, there was just one school to wait on.
After playing for the Centralia I-5 Toyota/Mountain Dew AAA team at the American Legion World Series at Wheeler Field, Knox was invited to play at the Area Code Baseball Games in San Diego, a five-day showcase for the top 220 players in the country.
Oregon coach Mark Wasikowski, as well as new pitching coach Blake Hawsworth had been in contact with Knox before the weekend in California, but wanted to see him pitch before they made any offer.
Knox only threw one outing in San Diego, needing just 26 pitches to get through three one-hit innings and striking out two. The Ducks didn’t let him leave California without giving him an offer, and he didn’t make them wait too long to commit.
“It was exciting,” Knox said. “The recruiting process is stressful, and I had a lot of tough decisions at first because I was kind of holding out for that one offer that I wanted … The second Oregon did, I was ready for it.”
Since then, Knox has gone to Eugene for multiple visits the past months, going to multiple Oregon football games and getting to know his future teammates. After his senior season in Tenino wraps up, he’ll go south to Longview first for a summer with the Cowlitz Black Bears in the West Coast League, then move to campus in August and begin the next stage of his career, where he’s ready for a few big steps up.
“Just the competition,” Knox said. “High school is fun and summer ball is fun, but it’s a different breed out there. Guys are fighting to make it to the next step, and I’m just ready for that. It’ll be fun to do that.”