New Palestine High School senior Keegan Watson has signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Nebraska.
Watson has been a three-year starter at NPHS so far heading into his senior year, primarily as an outfielder and pitcher, over a span in which the Dragons have gone 63-32 with two sectional titles, a regional championship, two regional final game appearances and a Hoosier Heritage Conference championship, playing under the tutelage of coach Shawn Lyons.
As a hitter, Watson has a .443 career batting average with 14 home runs, 78 RBI and 47 extra-base hits in 83 games and 244 at-bats. He has a career 1.320 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). As a junior, he hit nine homers and drove in 29 runs in 29 games, carrying a .402 batting average.
He is also 5-5 as a pitcher with a 4.49 ERA, including 3-3 with a 3.23 ERA as a junior, where he struck out 64 batters in 39 innings. He threw a no-hitter against New Castle on May 20, 2016. He also had double-digit strikeouts in three of his six starts, including a 14-strikeout game against Greenfield-Central on April 29.
He heads to a Nebraska program led by former Major League outfielder Darin Erstad. A Big Ten program, Nebraska went 37-22 last season and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Nebraska has had 38 players go on to play in Major League Baseball, including current MLB players Joba Chamberlain and Alex Gordon. Watson will become the second New Palestine graduate to compete for a Cornhusker program, joining wrestler Chad Red, who is currently a freshman on Nebraska’s wrestling team.