Three Blue Mountain Community College sophomore baseball players will continue their collegiate athletic careers at four-year institutions this fall.
Austin Florez, Tanner Heiman and Gunnar Johnson all signed their National Letters of Intent Wednesday. Florez, an outfielder from South Jordan, Utah, is working on his Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) degree to pursue psychology, and will continue playing baseball for Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls. This past season, Florez hit .295 and led the Timberwolves with 12 doubles and 25 runs scored. Florez said he’s learned a lot while at BMCC, particularly “how you have more of an impact than you think you do, both on and off the field, and that people look up to you.”
“Austin did a great job for us this year,” said BMCC Head Baseball Coach Brad Baker. “He was one of our best and most consistent hitters throughout the season. Austin worked extremely hard to improve his game during the year to earn this. Oregon Tech will be getting a quality hitter and person in Austin.”
Heiman, of a first baseman and pitcher from Kennewick, Wash., is working on his AAOT to pursue physical therapy, and will head to Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, in the fall. He will graduate next week from BMCC with a 3.21 GPA. Heiman had seven home runs and 11 doubles in two years as a Timberwolf, and also pitched 49 innings and recorded 32 strikeouts on the mound. He says he has learned how to be a leader and what it means to be a good teammate during his time at BMCC.
“Tanner had a very successful two years in the classroom and on the ballfield,” Baker said. “He will be a great asset, as a player, student and person at Grand View University.”
Johnson, a pitcher from Fairview, Ore., is also working on his AAOT and would like to pursue a career in criminal justice. He’ll head to Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota, this fall. Johnson was second on the team in innings pitched (53) and in wins (four). He said he’s looking forward to seeing a different part of the country after learning a lot about hard work at BMCC.
“Gunnar was a quality left-handed pitcher for us for two seasons, and really stepped up on the mound this season,” Baker said. “Dakota Wesleyan University will be getting a quality person and left-handed pitcher with Gunnar.”