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Southwestern High School graduate going to the big leagues

Southwestern High School graduate Collin Baumgartner became the fourth baseball player in SWHS history and the first since 1994 to sign a minor league contract last week. The 6’6” pitcher joined Shaun Watson, Matt Buhs and former St. Louis Cardinals’ closer Jason Isringhausen as the only Piasa Birds to accomplish this feat. Baumgartner has reported to the Colorado Rockies’ rookie camp in Scottsdale, Arizona. Photo courtesy of the Kansas Baseball Facebook page.


Collin Baumgartner signs with Colorado Rockies

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

After not hearing his name called during the 2023 Major League Baseball draft, 2017 Southwestern High School graduate Collin Baumgartner was ready to shift his focus to law school. Then, all of a sudden, the 6’6” pitcher received a call from an organization that was starving for success and looking to construct a young core for a sustained winning future.

Baumgartner, the son of Steve and Kristie Baumgartner, signed a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies and reported to their rookie camp in Scottsdale, Arizona last weekend.

Baumgartner was the ace of the Kansas Jayhawks during his final season of college eligibility earlier this spring. He went 6-1 with a 3.62 earned run average and was named to the All-Big 12 second team.

The former Piasa Bird was classified by many KU fans as “the greatest Jayhawk starter since Taylor Turski in 2017.” Baumgartner led the team in victories, strikeouts (74), ERA, total innings (80) and pitching ratio. He increased his overall stock by going 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in his final five outings against Texas, Oklahoma and Samford.

Baumgartner previously spent five seasons pitching at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He went 7-11 overall with a 5.43 ERA in 50 apprearances (38 starts). He led the Ohio Valley Conference with 15 regular season starts, which was among the top ten in all of Division I, in 2019. The right-hander posted a 13.5 strikeout average per nine innings in 2020 and opponents hit under .190 against him. Baumgartner was named to the 2021 pre-season All-Ohio Valley Conference squad before he was shut down for 2021 due to Tommy John surgery.

Baumgartner was an Illinois High School Association Class 2A All-State selection as both a junior and senior. The three-time All-South Central Conference ace currently owns SWHS records for total innings (206), ERA (1.15), strikeouts (280), wins (22) and starts (32). Baumgartner helped Southwestern win three SCC and regional titles. As a senior, Baumgartner posted a microscopic 0.43 ERA and struck out 117 batters while only issuing eight free passes.

Baumgartner was also quite the basketball player for the Birds. He collected a school-record 756 rebounds and 194 blocks while ranking as Piasa’s third highest scorer with 1,389 points.

Baumgartner is the fourth SWHS baseball player to go pro and the first since Matt Buhs in 1994. The previous others included Shaun Watson (1990) and former St. Louis Cardinals’ closer Jason Isringhausen (1991).