Hunter Hines

Duncan graduate Hunter Hines, seated, signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Connors State. From left, Ashley Hines, Sandra Hines, Ed Hines and Darren Briggs.

Getting a full paid scholarship is a rare feat in baseball. But considering Hunter Hines’ story, it kind of makes sense.

Hines moved to Duncan for his senior year and made an immediate impact, leading the team in home runs and becoming the team’s ace despite battling a lingering knee injury.

The 6-4 athlete got healthy this summer and took his time in trying to figure out the best fit for his future. That turned out to be Connors State.

Next season, Hines will suit up for the junior college and concentrate on pitching.

“I think it will be good overall,” Hines said. “That way I can work on one thing and be good at it. I have to work on being consistent and keep the ball down on hitters. I am also going to work on my velocity.”

When Hines began to consider his options for playing at the next level he honed in on the junior college ranks. Among those that he considered was North Central Texas College, Rogers State, Eastern Oklahoma State College and Seminole before deciding on Connors State.

“We kept our options open and in the last three weeks it became clear that we were going to Connors,” Hines said. “They were the ones that offered the most.

“I can go in and get my basics in and if I want, I can go to Division One.”

Hines will pursue an associates degree in Sports Medicine with an eye toward becoming a trainer.

Attending Connors State will also give him the opportunity to be close to many of his friends in Claremore, where he attended high school prior to coming to Duncan.

It was one of the most challenging things that a high school student can do. Leaving behind all his friends and teammates to start over at a new school. For Hines, any trepidation was swept under the table as he quickly acclimated himself in his new school.

“It can be tough for a person to move in to a new high school but he settled in extremely well,” Duncan coach Darren Briggs said. “He was able to make friends that he will stay in contact with.

“It was a gift to have him step in the hole that I envisioned for him. When you lose your No. 1 on the mound, you always have some questions. But that was not the prototypical move-in. For him to step in and contribute the way that he did, he gave us everything that I thought he would.”

And in turn, a senior year that could have been awkward and uncomfortable for Hines proved to be one that he will be able to cherish.

“It was awesome,” Hines said. “I had a great coach and met new friends. I also got to live with part of my family. It was awesome.”

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