(Courtesy photo)

BILLINGS – Cole McKenzie, former Billings Royal and member of the 2011 Little League World Series team from Montana, has verbally committed to Gonzaga University to play baseball.

McKenzie is projected to compete for the centerfield position for the 2018 season.

McKenzie comes to Gonzaga from Yakima Valley Community College out of the Northwest Athletic Conference and led the conference with a .425 batting average. He was among the leaders with 21 stolen bases and six triples. McKenzie committed no errors in the field.

McKenzie was named 2017 NWAC East Region Most Valuable Player and earned a NWAC Gold Glove. He is eligible to be voted 2017 NWAC MVP by league coaches.

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McKenzie will next play for the Wenatchee Apple Sox in the West Coast League, a summer developmental league for college-age players. The league attracts nationwide talent with teams in Washington, Oregon and Canada.