TWIN FALLS — Gaige Kepner’s lifelong love has been extended four more years.
Canyon Ridge’s starting second baseman signed a letter of intent Wednesday to continue his baseball career at the College of Idaho.
“I’ve played other sports but baseball is my favorite. I wish I could play it year-round,” Kepner said. “They told me their players are versatile, so I could play infield one day, play outfield one day and be on the bench the next. I’m excited.”
The Yotes compete in the Cascade Collegiate Conference. They made it to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston in 2012 but finished 20-24 last season.
The academic rigors of the school will suit Kepner as well, he said.
“I really liked the campus, and I like the academics — I got quite a bit of (scholarship) money for academics, which helps,” he said. “It’ll be nice to play with some of the guys I grew up playing against.
The College of Idaho has six former District IV players on its 2014 roster: Seth Champlin and Clay Mathews from Kimberly High; Nick Brunker of Wood River; Lee Johnson from Twin Falls and Buhl duo Markus Lively and Matt Hamilton.
Kepner has started at second base the past two seasons for Canyon Ridge and figures to do so again in his upcoming senior season.
While he’s got a slick glove, his stick needs a little more work. He can hit for average, but even middle infielders require some power at the college level.
“I think my fielding is the best part of my game right now,” Kepner said, referring to his most college-ready tool at this point. “I know I need to get into the weight room and start hitting with pop. I’m more of a contact guy, so I need to work on that. I don’t expect to play my freshman year but I want to be a starter by the time I finish.”