Olinger signs to play baseball for UVa-Wise
by Cris Ritchie
HAZARD – A three-sport athlete at Hazard High School will make the leap to college in baseball after signing his letter of intent with the University of Virginia at Wise.
Jordan Olinger was flanked by his coaches and family as he signed with the school on Wednesday. One of Hazard’s standout football players, Olinger said he actually considered pursuing a collegiate career in football, but baseball is the sport he prefers.
“I like hitting homeruns,” Olinger said with a smile. “You don’t get to hit homeruns in football.”
Olinger said he is looking forward to college and playing with two of his high school teammates, as both Austin Johnson and Evan Whitaker also expressed interest in UVa-Wise. But for now, he’s focusing on the rest of the season with Hazard, and possibly a long run into the postseason. The Bulldogs are currently 23-7 (one game behind Letcher Central in the 14th Region), with a match-up against South Laurel on the road set for Wednesday evening. Hazard will then host South Laurel on Thursday and end the season with a couple of games against Central, located in Wise, Va., on May 18.
Olinger’s signing this week is a highlight in a high school career in which he hopes to make it to the state tournament in three different sports. Baseball is the only sport in which he has yet to reach the state. (He was on the roster as an eighth grader in 2009 when the Bulldogs reached the first round of the Sweet 16 basketball tournament, and helped the Bulldogs win the 2011 Class A football championship.) But with the postseason set to begin next week, that could change.
“We’re just trying to go to state,” Olinger said. “(It will be the) first time I will have ever been to state. Hopefully we’ll get there.”
The 54th District tournament will begin on May 20, with Hazard facing Buckhorn (7-23) at home.
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