Casa Grande High School baseball standouts John Green and Hance Smith have shared catching duties the entire season. Next spring, they will continue sharing their baseball experience, but on a higher level.

Green last week signed a letter of intent to attend the University of the Pacific in Stockton. Smith already had signed to attend and play baseball for the same Division 1 university.

Green cited some of the same attractions that decided Smith on UOP.

“It is a beautiful campus,” Green said. “It is not too far from home and Hance will be going there.”

Green is having an outstanding senior season for the Gauchos, batting .359 with 14 hits through 14 games. He has three doubles and has scored nine runs and driven in nine. But UOP coaches didn’t have to do much scouting to know about the senior’s talents. They have coached him in fall ball and seen his skills first hand.

While he has been primarily a catcher for the Gauchos, Green also is one of the best defensive outfielders in the North Bay. He said UOP coaches envision him as a utility player. “They told me I would play everywhere but pitcher,” he said.

He received both an athletic and an academic scholarship, and he plans to study health and fitness at UOP.

Green and the Gauchos are anxious to get on with what is shaping up as an excellent season after competing last week in the prestigious Boras Baseball Classic, where they won two games and lost one by a single run.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “We showed we could run with the big dogs.” Now he will get a chance to play with the really big dogs in Division 1 baseball.

First he and Casa have more high school baseball to play as they chase a North Bay League championship and a deep run into the North Coast Section championships.

It is those kinds of experiences he will miss as he moves on.

“I’m excited to be getting out of high school,” he said. “But, obviously, I’m going to miss Casa Grande. I’ve got a lot of really close friends I’m going to miss.”

One he isn’t going to miss is Hance Smith. They will still be playing together — just a little farther away.

Green is the son of Ray and Kandall Green.