Thanks to a teammate on his summer baseball club, Caleb Hamilton had a change of heart. As the recently graduated Kingco Conference Player of the Year for Woodinville, Hamilton had been drafted by the Washington Nationals and planned to walk on at the University of Washington as a shortstop.
But then life threw Caleb a curveball. Logan Ice, a catcher bound for Corvallis, urged Hamilton this summer to join him at Oregon State. A few weeks ago, the talk became reality.
"This came out of nowhere," Hamilton said with a chuckle. "Logan said, ‘Dude, you should really come to Oregon State!’
"Logan’s like a big brother to me," Hamilton said. "Or a personal coach that’s in the dugout. He’s always positive around the guys and he’s really pushed me. We had a really good connection in the summer and he talked to the Oregon State coaches and told them that I would be good for the program and they followed up.
"And then one of the scouts from the Nationals called the Oregon State coaches," he said. "They said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to take a look at this kid and pick him up.’ So that’s basically how I got on the team."
The big benefit for Hamilton at Oregon State is that he’s guaranteed a roster spot with a good shot at a scholarship in the fall of 2014.
"We drove down to Corvallis a couple weeks ago," Hamilton said. "It’s a pretty impressive campus. When we came down here and met with the baseball coaches, they showed me and my family around. We were very impressed by how all the classrooms were set up and how organized the baseball coaches are and how respectful they were of us.
"It’s a great place to go and a great place to live," he said. "It’s a college town and everyone is so dedicated to college sports and it just makes for a good atmosphere. They were in the College World Series last year, and they’re a good ballclub, I can tell you that."
Hamilton is currently on campus as part of the summer bridge program to help acclimate incoming freshmen.
"I’m enjoying living in the dorms with all the baseball players," he said. "Then we will move into houses at the end of the month. The campus is somewhat small and is easy to get around. It’s a really cool experience."
A troubling question remains. Hamilton, a lifelong fan of Washington Huskies football, is now attending a rival school. On November 23rd, when Washington comes to Corvallis to take on the Beavers, which team will Caleb root for?
"I don’t really know," he said, with doubt rising in his voice. "I’m going here now but I still like U-Dub football ... I’m not sure what I’ll do."