COOS BAY — Southwestern Oregon Community College recently had its left-handed ace sign a letter of intent to play for Virginia Tech’s baseball team starting next fall.
The Lakers have signed the player they think can be his replacement, Reedsport star Dallas McGill.
“He’s just an ace,” SWOCC coach Dave Deutschman said. “He’s the left-handed guy that we’ve been wanting and we need to replace a guy who is going to a power-5 school (Jonah Hurney).
“Dallas is very capable of stepping into those shoes and filling the role of staff leader and the No. 1 guy on the mound. Of course, he has to earn it, but we think he’s very capable.”
McGill said SWOCC is a good place to extend his career as he aims for his eventual goal of becoming a professional pitcher.
“I like SWOCC,” he said. “The coach seemed really personable and a nice guy.”
Plus Nick Glover, who played with McGill at Reedsport, is with the Lakers now.
McGill might be chosen in the professional baseball draft after his senior season for the Brave next spring, and if he is taken early enough, he could skip college and join the team that picks him and start his trek through the minor leagues.
If he played for a four-year school, he would have to wait three years before he could be drafted again. On the other hand, in addition to the pros, SWOCC also could be the route to a scholarship at one of the top four-year schools if he isn’t chosen high either of the next few springs.
“He’s got all the tools in the world,” Deutschman said. “I think (being) on the junior college level for a year or so is going to be a very good place for him to open up a lot of doors.”
Deutschman is excited about McGill, both for his arm and his bat. And his numbers at Reedsport back up the coach’s optimism.
During the 2019 season, McGill batted .530 with a .602 on-base percentage, eight home runs, 40 RBIs and 30 runs scored.
He was even more impressive on the mound, finishing with a 6-0 record, pitching 51.1 innings. He had 106 strikeouts, allowed three runs, gave up just eight hits and 17 walks and had a 0.40 earned run average. He also threw a no-hitter in Reedsport’s first playoff game.
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“His statistics are video-game good, but we don’t even look at that,” Deutschman said. “I like to see how they do against other competition, how they handle themselves against adversity … and mental approach to the game.”
The SWOCC coach said he expects McGill to respond well when he does get hit hard by an opposing team.
“He has a high ceiling,” Deutschman said. “You can’t teach 6-foot-5 and left-handed. And I talk about the motor skills — he’s got them.”
McGill has command of all his pitches and throws with the same motion and release point for every pitch, Deutschman said.
“One thing he does is he repeats what he has,” Deutschman said. “The people we watch on television (in professional baseball), they repeat what they have every single time.”
Deutschman also expects McGill to be available to play first base when he isn’t pitching.
“He has an opportunity to get stronger and hit for power,” Deutschman said, adding that the Lakers could always use a big left-handed bat in the middle of the order.
The Lakers have signed a number of other recruits for next fall. And since school started, they have been preparing for next spring.
“The fall is big,” Deutschman said. “They have to adjust to our philosophy and our system. We have to adapt to coaching them and making them the best they can be, as well as allowing them to be themselves, too.”
The players can get as many as 80 at-bats or pitch 20 to 45 innings during the fall.
“It’s a really good time for our guys to play in a game-like environment,” Deutschman said.
McGill plans to study business and his fall-back plan if doesn’t make it to the pros in baseball is to be an electrician.
Now he is preparing for his senior basketball season, which starts with a game on Dec. 4 against Elkton.