As one of the top teenaged baseball players in B.C. last season, it’s little surprise Dawson Yates has attracted his share of attention from south of the border.
After considering a number of scholarship offers from American universities and colleges, the 17-year-old Kelowna product has signed a letter of intent with the Texas A and M University Islanders in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Yates, who has a season of midget baseball remaining with the B.C. Premier Baseball League’s Okanagan Athletics, plans to join the NCAA Div. 1 program for the start of the 2013-14 season.
“It’s a really good program,” said Yates, a Grade 12 student at KSS. “I have an opportunity to go in and start as a freshman, and play the highest level of college baseball there is. It’s something exciting to work towards.”
Other Div. 1 offers came Yates’ way from Boston College, Niagara and Marshall universities. He also had plenty of offers from junior colleges and, as a backup plan, Yates has verbally committed to Midland College in Texas, in the event he chooses not to attend Texas A and M.
Either way, scouts from across the U.S. and Canada have been duly impressed with the hitting ability of the 6-foot, 200-pound third baseman.
Yates was a key piece of the puzzle in 2012 in helping the Okanagan A’s win their first ever BCPBL title. During the regular season, he was fifth in the PBL with a .368 average, 20 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. Yates also tied for the league lead in doubles (12) and walks (40).
Where Yates really turned heads was at the U17 Canada Cup in London where, as a member of Team B.C., he batted .414 with 12 hits, including two home runs and 13 RBI.
It was while playing with Team B.C. last fall in Arizona where Yates caught the eyes of the Texas A and M scouting staff.
“Dawson is one of the most exciting high school pure hitters that I saw in this years’ recruiting class,” said Chris Ramirez, the Texas A and M recruiting coordinator “His ability to hit for power from the left side is a perfect fit in our program.”
This spring, Yates will head to Arizona to hone his skills with his A’s teammates and head coach Evan Bailey, then will join the Langley Blaze for a few more games down south.
With the start of his university career still close to a year away, Yates plans to do everything in his power to be ready for the next big step.
“I’m going to take it day by day, and just prepare the best I can,” said Yates. “I’m really working hard with my coach (Evan Bailey), and I’m going to work on getting stronger and faster. I don’t think you can be too prepared.”
In April, Yates will help his Athletics begin defense of their PBL title.
“We have a target on us and we want that,” Yates said of the A’s chances in 2013. “We’re going to have a really good team and a shot at winning it all again.”
As for playing baseball and pursuing an education at Texas A and M, Yates is intrigued by the unique location of the Corpus Christi campus—on an island in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The whole campus is on the island, so that’s going to be something different. It should be fun.”
If all goes as planned, Yates will head to Corpus Christi in late August 2013.