Central senior hopes to play in JUCO

Catcher could be Key for Gila Monsters

Central High School senior Travis Key grabs a baseball cap for Eastern Arizona College to try it on after signing his national letter of intent to play baseball for the school Thursday in Central’s library.

Travis Key didn’t do a lot of wavering.

The Central High School three-sport athlete knew what he wanted when it came to his future. He wanted to play baseball at a junior college in Arizona.
Thursday, Key signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Eastern Arizona College.

“It is a really good school and juco baseball is real big in Arizona,” Key said. “I thought it would be a real good opportunity for me to see some good baseball.”

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound catcher said Eastern Arizona was really the only school in contention.

“They caught me at a tryout in Arizona and the school really interested me,” Key said.

“Arizona is a big place for pro scouts, so hopefully I can get my name out there.”

A starter for the past two seasons, Key said he is going to continue to catch at Eastern Arizona and expects to play early. The Gila Monsters’ catcher this season is a sophomore. Central baseball coach Chuck Yost said Key has the potential to branch out and do more
than catch.

“He is a good athlete, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he moved to first base or third base,” Yost said. “But I know he loves to catch and does a great job there.”

Eastern Arizona plays in the Arizona Community College Athletics Association, with recent Alpine Bank Junior College World Series participants Yavapai College and Central Arizona College as members. The ACCAA is a wood bat league.

Key isn’t too worried about the transition after playing in a wood bat league last summer.

“I played with it this summer and it worked out quite well,” Key said. “I liked it more than an aluminum bat.”

And just like every high school baseball player from Grand Junction who goes on to play in the junior college ranks, Key is focused on making it back to Suplizio Field to play in the JUCO World Series in 2010 or 2011.

“It has always been a goal for me to play in JUCO and hopefully come back and play in front of my friends and family,” Key said.

Although Key has big plans for the future, for now he will keep his focus on the basketball court and keep preparing for his senior season on the baseball diamond. Yost said having a college choice locked up often helps a student-athlete perform better.

“They are more relaxed and there is not as much to prove,” Yost said. “You have the heavy burden off your back, you just go out and have fun.”


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