Dale Strode/Durango Herald
Dale Strode/Durango Herald
Colt Walker pulled on his new Otero Junior College baseball cap.
And it fit perfectly.
Walker, a multisport athlete at Bayfield High School, signed his national letter of intent to play baseball next season at Otero Junior College in La Junta.
And the BHS senior couldn’t be happier.
“I’m excited. It’ll be fun,” Walker said at his signing ceremony in the Bayfield High School auditorium.
He said he first was contacted by Otero and coach Chris Carrillo last spring.
“My junior year, I went out there for a tryout,” Walker said.
A number of complications slowed the recruiting process until this spring, he said.
“They contacted me again. And I went up there,” Walker said.
The Rattlers’ coaching staff responded with an opportunity to play baseball.
“Mainly, what we are looking at right now is middle infield,” said Walker, who plays shortstop and pitches for the current Wolverines.
“I might be behind the plate some, too,” said Walker, who was Bayfield’s starting catcher when he was a freshman.
In fact, Walker started all four years for the BHS baseball team.
And he was a four-year starter on the Bayfield football team – a squad that went 12-1 last year and reeled off 12 consecutive wins led by its option-quarterback, Walker.
He suffered an ankle injury in the state championship game against Florence, but he’s recovered to lead the BHS baseball team to the top of the Intermountain League standings.
He hit .418. And he posted a 2.10 earned-run average for his 40 innings of work on the mound.
“I went in as a utility player (at Otero),” said Walker, son of Brian Walker and Christy and Shawn Tucker.
A daunting schedule that could reach 60 regular-season games and 40 more fall games is appealing to Walker, who said he’ll have to get used to baseball, baseball, baseball – every day.
“It’ll be a busy schedule,” he said.
The competition in the regional junior college circuit will be challenging.
“There is going to be tons of competition. It’s going to be good to be in that atmosphere,” Walker said.
“It will definitely make me a better player to be surrounded by those guys ... and the competitiveness of it,” said Walker, an all-state honorable mention quarterback (21 touchdowns, 1,100 rushing yards).
“I really believe his strength at that (college) level will be his hustle, his work ethic,” BHS head baseball coach Tom Horton said.
“He’s always had an incredible work ethic. He was a team leader even when he was younger,” Horton said.
“He gets it done. He prides himself on doing a good job and working hard.”
“He’s a heady ballplayer; he’s smart,” Horton said. “He’s got a lot of heart ... a lot of dedication to the game.”