Collin Crook, a left-handed pitcher, is the newest member of the Hannibal-LaGrange baseball team.

At quite an early age Paris senior Collin Crook decided he wanted to earn himself an athletic college scholarship.

Fast forward to ninth grade and Crook began playing for the Coyotes under current head coach Mike Fible, who, in turn, helped develop this left-handed pitcher into the newest member of the Hannibal-LaGrange baseball team after signing his national letter of intent at the high school Friday afternoon.

"It's been a long road, but this is something I've wanted to do my entire life. Now I have a chance to do something I've always dreamed about. I get to go play ball," Crook said. "Everything fit together for me at Hannibal-LaGrange. I plan on going into a new program and that's where my path in life is taking me. The campus is not overwhelming. Everything is right there together. It's a pretty nice layout."

One factor that drew Crook in for the Trojans was the schools new Biology and Science Center. Hannibal-LaGrange also now offers a Life Science degree, which will allow him to work for the government as a Private Land Manager or create his own wildlife conservation organization.

This season for the Coyotes, Crook has a record of 2-1 and a 3.50 earned run average in seven appearances with five starts. During those team-leading 30 innings on the mound for Paris in 2017 the Southpaw allowed 27 runs, 15 earned, on 22 hits and 26 walks with 52 strikeouts.

While Crook is hitting .312 currently for the Coyotes on 10 hits in 32 at-bats with 13 runs, 15 walks and 13 RBI and nine steals in 10 attempts, in 2016 he lit up the opposition with a record of 7-0 and a 1.86 ERA in nine appearances with eight starts. This included six complete game pitching performances and just 17 runs allowed, 13 earned, on 28 hits and 37 walks with 80 strikeouts in 49 innings of work.

"I've had a chance to see Collin pitch quite a bit. This is my second year at Hannibal-LaGrange. Before that I was head coach at Mark Twain, so I knew of him," said head coach Ben Strother. "I came out to a game last year against a very good New Franklin team. I was actually recruiting some of their players, but Collin was pitching that game and I was thoroughly impressed. We began a conversation last year and this fall I saw him pitch again. There are a lot of things we like about Collin."

One factor working in Crook's favor is that Hannibal-LaGrange is an up and coming program that went 7-40 overall, 1-28 American Midwest Conference. While record alone would indicate the Trojans have opportunities to offer on the diamond and requirements to fill, the squad is also graduating two of its three left-handed pitchers, creating a void Crook hopes to fill.

"Collin throws strikes and gets better as the game goes on. He's a tough-minded kid, which is sometimes difficult to find in a pitcher," Strother said. "On top of that he knows his role and what he's best at, which is pitching. He's been given a great arm and there's always going to be a demand and a need for left handed pitchers. Collin has a good track record, and that's what makes him a good fit for us.”