GREAT FALLS — Another Montana baseball player is headed to Valley City (N.D.) State University to continue his career on the diamond.
Keeton Clark, a senior at Great Falls High and outfielder/catcher for the Great Falls Chargers American Legion Baseball team, has signed to play with the Vikings, who currently have Montanans Chase Feller of Laurel and Zach Veneman of Kalispell on the roster.
“We took a visit down there in February and talked to the coaches and I got to see their facilities — they’re super nice — so I decided to go play for them,” Clark said of his decision to sign with Valley City State, an NAIA program that competes in the North Star Athletic Association.
Clark, who plans to study psychology in college, said he didn’t really consider any other programs, as his recruitment came about quite easily. Chargers coach Tony Forster, a 2004 Great Falls CMR graduate, played at Valley City State and suggested Clark look into the program.
Clark followed up, submitted a recruitment form, started talking with the coaching staff and built an immediate connection. He’ll head to Valley City this fall after completing his senior season with the Chargers this summer.
“I’d have to say that I need to be a more consistent ball player, but that comes with time,” Clark said.
“I would like to be one of the best hitters on the team, have the best batting average for sure,” he added. “I’d like to steal some bags this year.”
Clark had an up-and-down 2020 season, starting the year first in the lineup but finishing ninth in the Chargers’ batting order. Still, just getting the opportunity to play in 2020 was a blessing after the coronavirus pandemic canceled the Montana High School Association spring sports seasons and delayed the start of Montana’s Legion Baseball season.
“We were lucky enough to play. Just having a season in general, so we got some at-bats, we got to go out and play a little, we didn’t have to sit at home,” Clark said. “Yeah, the season was kind of delayed a little while, but it was good to go out there and play.”
At the 2020 Class AA state tournament, the Chargers lost out in three games. But expectations are higher for the 2021 season with more experience and depth, as 50 players signed up for Legion ball this year when practices started in January.
“Should be a super good year,” Clark said. “We got a bunch of seniors on the team, and hopefully we can win.”