Belleville West senior Parker Beine may soon realize his goal of pitching at the Division I level, but for now he understands that a strong junior college program could help him get there.
Beine, a hard-throwing right-hander who has been clocked as high as 88 mph, recently gave a verbal commitment to Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Mo.
Southwestern Illinois and Lake Land were among the other junior colleges interested in Beine, while Southeast Missouri State and Eastern Illinois also showed interest.
"The big attraction with Jefferson is their track record," said Beine, who earned second-team News-Democrat All-Area honors last spring. "They were No. 2 in the nation two years ago and they've been to back-to-back Junior College World Series appearances (2011 and 2012). They've sent quite a few kids to pretty big Division I colleges, too."
The Vikings were 36-16 last season and won their seventh straight Midwest Community College Athletic conference title.
Beine was 6-5 with a 2.26 ERA last spring as a junior, leading the Maroons in appearances (17), innings pitched (55 2/3) and strikeouts (49).
O'Fallon baseball signings
O'Fallon senior outfielder and pitcher Jeff Hahs has signed with John A. Logan junior college in Carterville, while pitcher Blake Deatherage signed with Division II McKendree and infielder Collin Holton signed with Southwestern Illinois College.
A two-time News-Democrat All-Area selection and first-team All-Southwestern Conference pick last spring, Hahs is hitting .361 over his career for the Panthers with 14 doubles, four home runs and 57 RBIs in 74 games.
As a junior last season, he hit .370 with eight doubles, three homers and 35 RBIs.
Deatherage was 6-1 last spring with a 2.67 ERA and also hit .316 as the Panthers' starting left fielder, earning second-team all-conference honors as a utility player.
O'Fallon outfielder Dillon Ritter has signed with Lincoln College.