La Grande’s G.T. Blackman still has one more season ahead on the football field, basketball court and the baseball diamond.
But the La Grande senior already has his collegiate future locked up.
Blackman announced on Twitter earlier this week that he has committed to attend Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, next year to play baseball for the Warriors.
“I think to be able to have an opportunity to go and play at the college level is pretty special,” LHS baseball coach Parker McKinley said. “To be able to go and be a part of a team that’s a national championship contender year after year is not something everyone gets to experience. I’m really excited for him.”
Blackman, the reigning Class 4A baseball player of the year, chose LCSC because of its proximity to La Grande. He also called it a great option for him financially.
But he’s also attending the school his father, Greg Blackman, played and pitched for in his college days.
“He won three national championships. He told me I need to win four,” Blackman said. “It’s a winning program, and it’s cool to be part of it. I really like the coaches, too.”
He’ll be joining a dominant program that recently won its 19th NAIA national title.
Blackman was nothing short of dominant on the mound this past spring, helping lead the Tigers to the 4A state title.
The right-hander was a spotless 6-0 on the season with a 1.54 ERA. He recorded 72 strikeouts in just 45-1/3 innings, and
had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.6-to-1.
He was also solid at the plate, batting .415 with 25 runs scored and 13 RBIs. In the field, he recorded a fielding percentage of .886 from his shortstop position when he wasn’t pitching.
He was almost lights out during the playoffs, recording a 1.50 ERA and striking out 16 batters in his two starts, both complete-game victories. He also recorded a save in the championship game against Henley, an 8-5 Tigers’ win.
Though he would like to continue playing in the field and pitching, Blackman said it’s likely his focus at LCSC will be on the mound.
“They said I could work into a two-way player if I wanted, but they thought the best thing would be to pitch,” he said.
McKinley said Blackman has a toughness that LCSC head coach Jeremiah Robbins looks for.
“He wants to win all the time,” McKinley said. “I think the fact that he knows there’s an opportunity to compete for something, he’s going to give him everything he’s got. When he is in the moment, he is very focused and mentally tough. I think that’s a huge advantage going into that. He’s not going to back down.”
McKinley added that there could be an opportunity for Blackman to compete for a spot in the rotation right away. Seven of LCSC’s top eight pitchers from 2017, in terms of innings pitched, graduated.