Austin Atkins leads the baseball Tigers in hits, RBIs, batting average, on-base percentage, and stolen bases. But that’s not earned him a chance to play college baseball at Park University, according to head coach Howard Quigley.
“Austin’s been a great ballplayer for us for the last couple of years,” Quigley says. “The thing that’s unique about Austin — he came here a couple of year ago and he has a real high motor. He’s going full blast all the time. The thing that sets Austin apart from other people is he works so hard. He’s self-motivated. He does stuff whether you’re standing there watching him or not. You don’t have to be in the weight room to make sure he’s going to get his stuff done.”
Atkins will join Republic softball player Sydney Phillips as a student at Park, near Kansas City, this fall. Playing baseball in college is something he didn’t always believe he’d be able to do.
“I’m really thankful for the opportunity I’m getting to play baseball. There were definitely times throughout my career I thought playing at the next level might not be an option,” he says.
Atkins credits the motivation offered by the coaching staff, including Republic assistant Brandon Weldy, who was also Atkins’ coach in Ash Grove. “Having coaches [say] ‘We believe in you. Keep going … keep doing what you do. Someone will find you. And someone did, and I’m finally signing, and it’s kind of a dream come true.”