After one more season at Western Nevada College, Astoria’s Conor Harber will be wearing the green and yellow of the University of Oregon, as the former Fisherman – to the delight of his family and relatives – will call himself a Duck.

Harber signed a letter-of-intent last week to continue his baseball career at Oregon, beginning with the 2014-15 school year.

In all, Western Nevada coach D.J. Whittemore saw three of his players sign NCAA Division I letters-of-intent last week.

In addition to Harber, pitcher Christian Stolo and middle infielder Jack Hall signed letters during a ceremony attended by many of their teammates on the Carson City, Nev., campus.

Consistently one of the country’s top junior college baseball programs with three NJCAA World Series appearances in eight seasons, Western Nevada has sent many players on to the NCAA Division I level. The number of Division I scholarships awarded to WNC players grew to 60 with Wednesday’s signings.

“Two of the most important days of the year are graduation and national letter intent day,” Whittemore said. “Every time one of them signs, our job gets a little easier. All of the coaches call for the best available players. The longer you have them unsigned, the harder it is to get the other guys scholarships.”

Stolo signed with the University of Nevada, Reno, while Hall will attend the University of San Francisco.

It was Harber who scored big on letter-of-intent day.

The first .400 hitter in Western Nevada history signed with the Ducks, one of the Pac-12’s elite.

There was little that Harber didn’t do for the Wildcats in 2013, as the 2012 Astoria graduate finished runner-up for Scenic West Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors.

Harber became the fourth Wildcat to be named as a National Junior College Athletic Association All-American and set three WNC single-season records with 88 hits, a .411 batting average and 11 triples.

Last June, Harber was chosen in the 38th round by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft.

“Conor is the best athlete ever to play in our program,” said Whittemore, referring to Harber as a five-tool player. “He will be one of the top junior college athletes in the entire country this season.”

Harber, meanwhile, is pleased that he will get to share the next step in his baseball career with family and friends – not to mention keeping it “all in the family,” as several of his close relatives also attended Oregon, and are avid Duck fans. His mother Cynthia and aunt Connie both played volleyball with the Ducks.

“It means a lot to me that my family can come watch me play,” Harber said. “And it takes a lot of the stress away knowing that this is knocked off the list and I can mainly focus on school and playing baseball the rest of the way.”

The first-team All-Region 18 player also stole 16 bases, scored 56 runs, totaled 29 extra-base hits, recorded four outfield assists and registered a team-low 0.96 earned run average in five pitching appearances last season.

“Conor’s love of the game and his work ethic, not to mention his talent, make him really fun to watch every day, whether it is practice or a game,” Whittemore said. “He broke three program records as a freshman and his desire to be the best all time make him a good bet to break a few more in his sophomore season.”

Oklahoma State and Oregon State also expressed interest in Harber, but he chose the Ducks, who have hosted NCAA tournament regionals the past two seasons.


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