Arcata senior Merek Sears is taking his talents to Washington State after signing a letter of intent to play baseball for the Cougars after graduation.
Sears, HumboldtSports.com‘s pitcher of the year this past spring, is the second of a current crop of outstanding young pitchers in the H-DNL who will play at a PAC-12 school, joining sophomore Nick Dugan of St. Bernard’s, who announced earlier this year that he will play at Stanford after high school.
For Sears, it was a relatively easy decision.
“In general I like the state of Washington,” he said. “And Washington State being in the PAC-12, that’s where I’ve always wanted to play.”
ClickHERE FOR VIDEO HIGHLIGHTSand reaction from Monday’s signing.
To get the offer, the talented lefty had to impress a couple of different coaching staffs, first receiving interest from former head coach Marty Lees before new head coach Brian Green took over during the summer.
Green invited Sears to a camp in August and was impressed enough with what he saw to extend a scholarship offer, which Sears accepted in early September.
Sears says he is looking forward to working with Green, who previously turned around a New Mexico State program.
On Monday evening at the Arcata High library, Sears formally accepted the offer by signing his letter of intent in front of family, friends, coaches and teammates.
“One thing I do know about Merek is that he’s got an insane competitive spirit,” Sears’ former basketball coach Graham Johnson said. “He’s always striving to get better.”
Arcata baseball coach Troy Ghisetti added that Sears has been a great influence for his teammates on and off the field.
“He’s a great leader on the field, but he’s also a great academic leader in the classroom,” Ghisetti said of the senior who will major in engineering.
Sears made an immediate impression at the high school level playing for the Tigers as a freshmen, before missing his entire sophomore season due to an injury.
He was back stronger than ever as a junior this past spring, where he played a pivotal role in helping the Tigers to a North Coast Section title, proving to be the difference on the mound in a tight championship showdown with close rivals McKinleyville.
And his leadership is something some of his younger teammates appreciated, with many of them on hand at Monday’s signing.
“He was a great team leader for all of us,” sophomore catcher Alex Gorge said.
For Sears, the relationship with his teammates is every bit as important.
“My teammates have been a big part of that (success) every step of the way,” an emotional Sears told the gathering.
His mother and father, Becky and Dave, were also on had for the celebration, and have suspected their son was destined for good things in the sport from a young age.
“Merek was always throwing a ball,” Becky told the gathering. “He was always holding something in that little left hand and he could like nail things accurately, so we saw it coming from a long time ago as a little toddler.”
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.