Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
BAINBRIDGE — When Lane Mettler steps in between the lines on the diamond this spring, he’ll do so with a college decision out of the way.
Paint Valley’s ace pitcher signed to play baseball at The University of Rio Grande, Monday night.
” I chose to go to Rio Grande because it’s close and it feels like home. I feel like it’ll be a great fit for me. I’ve visited the campus and watched Rio play some games and I knew I wanted to play there,” Mettler said. “From the games that I’ve watched, the team is always having fun. They aren’t just playing the game but they’re enjoying each other while doing it and I wanted to be a part of that. I’ll get to meet new teammates and compete with them every day. I chose baseball simply because I love the sport. I can’t wait to keep getting better and see what it’s like to play at the next level.”
Mettler helped the Bearcats finish 18-11 last year and win a Division III sectional championship. He led the Scioto Valley Conference in strikeouts with 60 and scored 15 runs, sixth-best in the conference.
Now, he’ll join a Rio Grande program that finished 39-21 last season and won the River States Conference Tournament.
“My family, coaches, and teammates have meant a ton to me throughout this process and I can’t thank them enough. I want to thank my teammates for always pushing and making me better every day,” Mettler said. “I want to thank my family for always being there for me and helping me with anything I’ve needed help with. I also want to thank my coaches for pushing me and making me a better player and man every time I stepped onto a field, whether that was baseball or football. I couldn’t have asked for two better coaches between [baseball] coach [Shayne] Combs and [football] coach [Pete] Hollon. If I ever need anything, I know I could go to either of them and they would always be there to help.”
Now, with clear mind, Mettler can focus on helping the Bearcats win another sectional crown and, hopefully, go on a lengthy tournament run.
“I expect our team to go far this year. We’re going to come in with a better mindset and work ethic,” Mettler said. “We have a lot of returners so we’re going to have some experience on the field. The biggest thing that will help us is that we’re one big group of friends, like family. We love playing with each other and we have fun doing it.”