FORT SCOTT, KS — Most high school athletes don’t go into their sophomore season thinking it will be the last season of their high school career.
Neither did former Fort Scott High School catcher Ivan Witt. But, a combination of academic excellence and unforeseen circumstances landed him on a unique path to starting his collegiate career earlier than expected.
Stepping onto the field at Dave Regan Stadium at Laroche Baseball Complex brings back a lot of good memories for Witt.
“The best moment I had was dog piling to go to state when we won our regional game,” said Witt. “That was a lot of fun.”
It was a season he holds in pretty high regard.
“My whole sophomore season was the best year of my life,” Witt said. “All my best friends, we won 22 straight games, went 22-2 and took third of whatever in state.”
It would actually end up being the last season he would play for the Tigers, since what would have been his junior season was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Instead of getting ready for his senior season this upcoming school year, he’ll actually be getting ready for his freshman year of college.
Witt was able to graduate high school a year early and will be attending Neosho County Community College this fall.
“My dad always told me that if I took care of business in the classroom, doors would open,” said Witt. “We didn’t really imagine it like this, but you know, I was lucky enough that I’d taken a lot of extra classes in high school. So, when I decided to do this, I only had to finish two classes to graduate. So, it wasn’t that hard. It was just a tough decision to make.”
His high school coach Josh Regan said his skill level and work ethic are among the best he’s seen and he has no doubt he can succeed at the college level.
“His dedication to it is honestly on a different level than 99.9% of kids you come across,” said Regan. “I sort of spotted this. Not only is he smart enough, but he’s talented enough and he’s real goal-oriented. So, I just kind of saw his path would be probably be different than most kids because of how he approached everything.”
Witt doesn’t seem to have many doubts either, at least when it comes to baseball.
“I’ve been playing baseball my whole life,” Witt said. “I’m not really nervous. I just have to go out there and do. I’d say my mom is pretty nervous about keeping the dorm room clean, doing laundry and stuff.”
After a year at Neosho County Community College, Witt plans on transferring to Creighton University.