Two Hollister baseball players signed to continue their athletic careers on Thursday, Dec. 10.
Landon Richards signed his National Letter of Intent to Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas.
Layton Morgan signed his to Drury University, just 47 miles away from home in Springfield, Missouri.
It was something both were excited to do in front of their teammates.
Richards knew he wanted to go the junior college route before even considering Johnson County.
But he settled on JCCC because of the promise the program has when it comes to sending kids to the next level.
Johnson County is well-known for sending its baseball athletes on to the Division I level after their JUCO years.
“I feel like it’s the best option for me to continue my baseball career,” Richards said. “I really like the facilities and the coaches, too.”
Morgan picked Division II Drury because of its proximity and the growth he’s seen from the program in recent years.
“They’re building a winning culture — it’s one brick at a time there,” Morgan said. “I feel like I can flourish, and they can use my athletic potential to help the team in a lot of different ways.”
The two know this moment means more than it might have in past years. The coronavirus pandemic shut down their junior season before it even started. Richards and Morgan agreed that this was a weight off their shoulders heading into their final season at Hollister.
“I feel like I can just be a high school senior now and enjoy the rest of my time here with the guys I’ve grown up playing with,” Morgan said.
“It definitely takes something off your shoulders,” Richards said with a smile.
In their freshman and sophomore seasons, the Tigers combined for a 37-17 record but lost in the district tournament both years to Springfield Catholic.
“We’ve just got to play one game at a time,” Richards said.
“We’ll worry about us and not them, and we’ll be good,” Morgan followed up.