For someone with a hunger to play baseball like Keegan Anderson, the opportunity to play ball in college is a chance to keep savoring his favorite game.
Anderson agreed to join the Kaskaskia College Blue Devils baseball team after he graduates this spring. Playing college ball is the culmination of a lot of hard work.
“Its been a goal for me since I was just a kid,” Anderson said of his desire to play baseball in college. “You always have to have goals, and once you reach them you set new ones, but this was a big one for me.”
Excellence in baseball requires a lot of hard work, and his coaches see that his passion for the game is behind his desire to excel.
“Keegan eats, sleeps and breathes baseball,” Nashville coach Chad Malawy said. “And he has definitely proven that he is a college pitcher.”
Kaskaskia College coach Mitch Koester has seen enough of Anderson to know he has the makings of a special talent.
“For Keegan, the sky is the limit,” Koester said. “He has a live arm, and I think he has the ability to be a Division-1 player.”
Anderson is one the Hornets' most versatile players. In addition to playing the role of the team's ace on the mound, he can hit, run and handle the glove at shortstop.
“He's a tough out, and once he gets on base we're a better team,” Malawy said of Anderson. “But he is our go-to guy on the mound, and his arm is what is getting him into college.”
Focusing on pitching will be an adjustment for him, but Anderson relishes the opportunity.
“I've been a two-way guy all along, so I'll miss it a little bit, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of pitching,” he said.
Malawy said he has watched Anderson improve over his time at Nashville and knows that his arm can take him places.
“He has plus-velocity for a high school pitcher, and his breaking pitches have really developed during his time here,” Malawy’s said.
Once his high school career is over, Koester expects Anderson to hit the ground running for KC.
“I expect Keegan to come in and help us on the mound right away,” Koester said.
Anderson plans to study pre-engineering at KC in the hopes of transferring to a 4-year school to finish up his degree. And play baseball, if possible.
For now, he is just looking forward to what he hopes will be another successful season for the Hornets after winning a regional championship last season.
“We're looking forward to building off last year,” Anderson said. “We've got most of our guys back, and hopefully we can do real well.”
Pictured is (seated) Stephanie and Ronnie Anderson and Keegan Anderson. Standing is NCHS Coach Chad Malawy, KC head coach Mitch Koester, KC Assistant Coach Marcus Wilson and KC graduate assistant coach Cameron Obermeier.