By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
Former Belton Tiger first baseman Chase Sortor made his college baseball intention official this week, as he heads up I-35 to play for the McLennan Community College Highlanders in 2015-2016.
The three-year varsity first baseman was a mainstay on the right side of the diamond for the Tigers, getting several key hits during Belton’s 2015 playoff run and was part of an infield over the past couple of years that made big play after big play.
He hit .359 in 2015 with four homers (all of them in clutch situations and were absolutely crushed), 22 runs batted in, 11 walks and seven doubles. Sortor also had just two errors in 197 putouts and 17 assists, good for a fielding percentage of .991.
“I chose MCC over Temple College, Blinn, Odessa and Cisco,” Sortor said. “What drew me to them was the success they had last year and even before that they were one win away from going to Grand Junction.”
MCC’s success is well-documented, appearing in the NJCAA World Series in 2015
“Coach (Mitch) Thompson told me that ‘something special is happening here and I’d love for you to be a part of it,’” Sortor said. “You can’t argue with the success that Coach T has had in his first two years”
Sortor joins several Tigers heading to college to study and play baseball, along with Shane Stafford (Midland College), Ethan Williams (Midland College), Dustin Tish (Temple College), Coby Potvin (Temple College) and Jacob Alexander (Temple College) as other members of the 2015 Tigers.
Add in several 2014 Tigers, including Jared Janczak (Texas Christian), Walker Winders (Blinn), Chase Cryer (Houston, now at TC) and Jaime Kidder (Schreiner) and Belton’s baseball program is well-represented in the collegiate ranks.
While he played first base for Eddie Cornblum’s Tigers, he could play several positions for the Highlanders.
“I’ll be going there to compete with the sophomore,” Sortor said. “We will wind up splitting time unless someone else is struggling. Coach said I could find myself at first, at designated hitter, at third or even left field. Offensive, he may move more over there to compete with them, as long as I hit the way he knows that I can. It just matters where they need me.”
Going up against Potvin, Tish and Alexander will be fun for Sortor, as the four were close as teammates.
“I think it will be fun, we are all three very competitive,” Sortor said. “It’ll be a good experience, to play alongside two of my good friends in (former Midway shortstop) Jared Pool and Ragan Forrest. But also playing against my good friends from high school: Jacob Alexander, Dustin Tish, Chase Cryer and Coby Potvin, whenever we play TC.”
Sortor struggled through a tough junior season and Cornblum never lost faith in his first baseman.
“Coach has been amazing to me and my family. He treated me like a son and never lost hope in me, even after my junior year. Coming into my senior year, he really turned to me and counted on me. It was nice to see he hadn’t lost hope. The relationship we had was unlike any other connection I have ever had with a coach. He has helped shape me into the player that I am today.”
Sortor, who will study physical therapy at McLennan, also credits his family for his success.
“My parents and family have meant everything to me,” Sortor said. “The love and support they gave me throughout my baseball career is incomparable and I wouldn’t be the player I am today without them.”