Casa Grande High School's Kevin George will continue his pitching career at Santa Clara University.
George said one of the biggest factors that drew him to Santa Clara was what he called the baseball program's "old-school philosophy.
"Santa Clara plays the game the right way with a ton of respect for its history," he explained. "I love the old-school baggy uniforms. Also, the stadium and player facilities are extremely nice and the weather is great for baseball.
"The coaches are great and have shown they really want to develop their players both on and off the field."
Baseball isn't the only thing that attracted George to Santa Clara. He also likes the academics and the feel of the campus.
"Santa Clara is well respected with a high standard of academics, and the baseball program supports its players in the classroom," he said. "It is one of the top schools in the country. I'm excited to be able to earn my degree from such a great university."
"The campus is small with has a family feel. Everything is very clean. They keep the campus immaculate."
George is undecided about his major, but said he is leaning towards something in business or communications.
The Casa senior grabbed college recruiters' attention last season when he compiled a minuscule 0.89 earned run average in 11 games in 62.2 innings. He had a 7-3 won-lo record with four complete games, striking out 91 batters and walked only 27. He gave up just three extra-base hits all season.
Playing first base when he wasn't pitching, he hit .405 and drove in 20 runs in 104 plate appearances, compiling a .500 slugging percentage with a .485 on-base percentage.
George said he expects to pitch as a freshman.
"They are not making any guarantees, but they expect me to be an impact player as a freshman," he said. "They also said they will be careful not to use me too much because most high school pitchers throw a lot of innings.
"They made it clear that each player, whether on scholarship or not, will have to fight for their position. "I look forward to helping the team compete any way I can."
Before he packs his bags for Santa Clara, George has a few things he wants to accomplish at Casa Grande.
"Casa has been great," he said. "I have loved every year I have played and playing for coach Maytorena (Paul) has really made me focus on the mental aspects of my game.
"I want to get to the North Coast Section final this year, and I think we have the team to do it. Personally, I want to continue to work on my game and grow as a player. That never stops.
"I am enjoying my senior year, and I can't wait for baseball to start. At the same time, I took my official visit to Santa Clara in September and it made me realize how excited I am to get to Santa Clara. I really have been looking forward to this for a long time."
He said he doesn't know how far he will go in baseball, but he wants to play as long as he can.
"At this point, I am planning on taking baseball as far as I can," he said. I understand the realities of making it to pro ball, but I have a great opportunity to play for a D1 school that will help develop me both on and off the field, so if pro ball is in my future, great. If not, I will have a degree I can take anywhere."