Basketball player signs to play baseball

BRYANT – Current Bryant Hornets senior basketball player Quinten Motto will be trading his sneakers in for cleats when he graduates from high school. Motto signed a letter of intent to play baseball for the Vernon Chaparrals, a junior college out of Vernon, Texas, on Wednesday in the Bryant Gym.

Signing to pitch for the Chaparrals, a mascot that resembles a road runner, the right-handed Motto has yet to pitch in a varsity high school game, but he played in a couple summer leagues this past year and Vernon liked what it saw.

“They’re getting a guy that has really excelled over this past summer,” Bryant baseball Coach Kirk Bock said. “He came in with us a little late out of basketball. This summer he had a great summer. His velocity really jumped up.

“He’s probably a diamond in a rough out there. A lot of people haven’t been on him so I think they’re going to get something special.”

Motto, 6-7, 190 pounds, played in the Connie Mack League in Farmington, N.M., over the summer and relieved for the Strike Zone Cardinals, which placed third in the Connie Mack World Series held in Farmington. He also pitched for a club out of Dallas where he started.

Motto will major in business while at Vernon and said he pitched the best he’s ever pitched over the summer, racking up the most strikeouts he has ever had in one summer. His velocity is in the upper 80s and Motto said he has hit 90 mph once.

“They worked with me really good and they really made me better,” Motto said of his coaches in Farmington.

Bock said Motto has been limited because he hasn’t been able to focus on just baseball as he starts for the Hornets’ basketball team. Motto has been able to get full summers of playing ball, but has missed out on spring and fall baseball.

“Once he kind of commits to one thing, I think he’ll really take off,” Bock said. “If he continues to get better like that, [junior college] won’t be his last stop. He’ll probably get drafted coming out because he’s got something you can’t coach and that’s size.

“Right now, he’s 6-7 and kind of a skinny 6-7. Whenever he gets into college and possibly pro ball, they’re going to put another 40 pounds on him and really get to doing well.”

With Motto’s potential, Bock projects him to throw in thelow 90s and to be a possible starter for the Chaparrals.

“I’m going to probably relieve at first to see how it goes about halfway through the season so they can work with me more and probably become a starter,” Motto said.

Motto, though, won’t be able to use his size to Vernon’s advantage on the basketball court. Vernon doesn’t have a basketball team.