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Anderson, Willson sign with MSU Billings baseball

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Posted at 8:29 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 11:03:27-05

(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)

BILLINGS – Two more recruits have signed letters of intent to join the Montana State University Billings baseball team for the 2021-22 academic year, announced Yellowjacket head coach Derek Waddoups on Monday.

James Anderson of Corvallis, Oregon, and Austin Willson of Enumclaw, Washington, became the latest two signings for the ‘Jackets, bringing the total number of recruits for next year to seven. Both players will come to MSUB after spending each of the last two seasons at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, Washington.

James Anderson

Position: Outfielder/First Baseman

Hometown: Corvallis, Oregon

Previous Schools: Crescent Valley High School/Western Oregon University/Skagit Valley College

Anderson was last on the field in the summer of 2020, playing for the West Linn Knights in Oregon. He held a .302 batting average with a pair of home runs, 10 RBIs, and a .940 OPS over the summer.

In the shortened 2020 collegiate season, Anderson played in 11 of 12 games for Skagit Valley College before the coronavirus pandemic abruptly canceled the remainder of the campaign. Anderson was the team’s top hitter through the first 11 games of the year, hitting .382 with two home runs, 10 RBIs, and 12 runs scored and posting an OPS of 1.100.

Prior to his time at Skagit Valley, Anderson spent two years at fellow Great Northwest Athletic Conference school Western Oregon University. As a true freshman in 2018, Anderson saw action in 15 games and had one hit.

Anderson enjoyed a decorated prep career at Crescent Valley High School and was a first-team all-state catcher during the 2016 season. Anderson hit above .400 in each of his prep seasons, with a career-best single-season average of .458. He led the state of Oregon in home runs in 2016 and hit nine in his career. He was a two-time first-team all-league catcher, and competed for the Corvallis Marketmen during the summer. In addition to his baseball career, Anderson played corner back and strong safety on the Raiders’ football team for two seasons.

Coach Waddoups on Anderson: “James is a high-character game-changer. He has the ability to really impact the baseball. It is exciting to add a guy like James to our ‘Jackets family who can quickly change the game with one swing.”

Anderson on choosing MSUB: “I chose Montana State University Billings because of the culture and atmosphere they present. With the prior knowledge I have about the GNAC, I've been aware of MSUB for quite some time. The competitive and winning environment which MSUB presents creates a high-level atmosphere which shows how passionate the players and coaches truly are about the game. When I decided to commit, all of the coaches and even players reached out to congratulate me, and that's when I knew I made the right decision.”

Austin Willson

Position: Infielder

Hometown: Enumclaw, Washington

Previous Schools: Enumclaw Senior High School/Wenatchee Valley College/Skagit Valley College

Like Anderson, Willson was an impact player for Skagit Valley College during the brief 2020 campaign. He played in 11 games while hitting .333 in 30 at-bats. He posted an OPS of .842, and led the team with seven stolen bases. Willson also spent two seasons at Wenatchee Valley College, but did not see the field.

During his time at Enumclaw Senior High School, Willson competed in baseball for four seasons and was a three-time team defensive most valuable player. Willson earned first-team all-league honors as a senior, after being a second-team all-league pick his junior year. He was also invited to play in the senior all-star game, and was a two-time team coaches hustle award winner.

Willson’s statistical highlights include a .427 batting average and 24 RBIs during the 2018 season, and he committed just nine errors in his three-year varsity career. In addition to baseball, Willson played for two seasons on the Hornets’ basketball team.

Coach Waddoups on Willson: “Austin is a stud athlete and dynamic infielder. He also has tremendous bat speed. He projects as an impact player with his explosive frame and ability to play the game. He is a grinder and will bring a tremendous work ethic to our program.”

Willson on choosing MSUB: “I chose MSUB because I wanted to join a winning culture that values family, work ethic, and character. The overall quality of the program, quality of those who represent it, and the beautiful state of Montana provided a very easy decision on where my future would be. I came here to become a better person, on and off the field. I want to win.”