Harold Baez came to Scottsbluff from Miami to play baseball and to get an education.
Baez' dedication to the game of baseball has led him to sign to play baseball for the Cougars of Western Nebraska Community College Tuesday afternoon.
"I choose to become a Cougar because I feel like I have a lot of people here supporting me, people that care," the Scottsbluff High senior said. "I just like the environment and it is something I want to be a part of."
Baez has a connection to WNCC in that his brother Roybell, is the assistant men's basketball coach at WNCC. Roybell also serves as an assistant coach for the WESTCO Zephyrs and Express the past two season.
Last summer with the WESTCO Zephyrs, Harold Baez was a shortstop and pitcher. Harold batted .252 with 22 RBIs, 24 runs scored, and eight doubles. On the hill, Baez had a 2.333 earned run average with 53 strikeouts.
Harold said that when he was in Miami, he would play baseball year-round starting when he was seven. That is why he picked baseball over basketball.
"I know I have to get way better," he said. "But back in Miami I would play baseball year round. Since I was seven, I would play baseball every day."
Now, Harold is settled into Scottsbluff and away from the big city of Miami.
His older brother was a big factor in getting Harold up to Nebraska and out of Miami, too.
"We went a lot of years without being with each other," Roybell said of the time he spent away from his little brother. "So, being here together now and then next year and the year after that is a blessing for sure."
"It was huge [to bring him up here]," he said. "For a lot of years, my brother was unstable with my father. For five years I tried to get him with me but I was playing college basketball so I couldn't. The second I was able to, Cory [WNCC head basketball coach Cory Fehringer] gave me the green light. I had no support to bring him and the minute I brought him, Kelsey and AJ [Kuxhausen] said we will take him and then Robert and Sara [Quijas] came in the second year and said we will take him. I did it for the love of my brother. I really didn't have any plan for bringing him here; I just knew I had to get him out. God took care of the rest and it was awesome."
Roybell said it is nice to have his brother around for another two years and it was a no-brainer for him to sign with WNCC and with all the love the community of Scottsbluff has shown to Roybell and Harold.
"It is big time ]to sign at WNCC] from Sara to Kelsey for them showing up. Our men's basketball team for showing up. Coach Jones being here," Roybell said. "Me and Coach Jones have a really good relationship. To me it was a no-brainer not only because it is family but also because it will be close and I will be able to keep an eye on my brother. Like I said, we haven't been around each other for a long time and I trust Coach Jones a lot."
Roybell and Harold both know he needs to get better, but Roybell said WNCC is getting a good kid.
"He will bring athleticism in the infield. My brother will bring a lot of stuff," Roybell said. "I think he still needs to get better as person and a player, and he will have to trust the process of whatever coach Jones has plans for him. I think he will bring charism and athleticism and he is a nice looking and good kid."