By Kevin Wilson
Since his junior year, Jarron Hill thought he could make the jump to play college baseball once he’d left Class 2A Texico. His senior year, a 10-0 record and a .542 batting average has done little to shake that confidence.
Hill took one more step Thursday, signing a letter of intent to play next season for Eastern New Mexico University in Portales.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Hill chose ENMU over West Texas A&M and New Mexico Highlands.
“I went to tour the campus with the coaches, and it went really well,” Hill said. “They’re really good, and the program is really good. It should turn out well.”
During an informal ceremony on Thursday morning at the Texico High gym, administrators and coaches praised Hill, with coach Ty Thatcher saying Hill’s combination of ability, faith and quiet confidence plays a significant role in the Wolverines’ success.
The Wolverines (24-1), last year’s state runnerup in 2A, are the top seed this year, and are coming off a 27-0 victory over Navajo Prep on Wednesday with Hill striking out 12 of the 17 batters he faced.
“It’s been an honor to coach Jarron for the last four years,” Thatcher said. “I think he is about baseball, I think he loves baseball and I think it’s a great opportunity for him to continue to play baseball.”
Hill has 39 hits in 72 at-bats, with 13 extra base hits and 20 runs batted in. On the mound, he has 97 strikeouts against nine walks with an earned run average of 0.62 — a stat Thatcher considers more impressive because it is calculated based on seven innings pitched.
Hill, though, rarely gets to pitch a full game with Texico winning several games early via the mercy rule.
Hill will join a Greyhounds squad that went 26-24 this season, but he’s still got work left at Texico.
Behind Hill during his signing was the Texico trophy case, aligned with 21 blue trophies in various sports. Hill would like to make it 22, including the second baseball title since the program started 12 years ago.