From the time that he began hitting baseballs off a tee and fielding ground balls from the hand of his father, Montezuma-Cortez High School senior Korie Likes dreamed of one day playing baseball at the college level.
Now, thanks to a stellar summer season as a member of the Cortez Freedom Cats baseball club and several solid workouts in front of college coaches and scouts, the powerfully built center fielder is set to realize his dream when he suits up for Dordt University next fall.
“All of the hard work we put in with the team, going to Dordt, seeing the campus, playing in front of the coaches, it’s a dream becoming a reality,” said Likes, who signed a National Letter of Intent on Nov. 11. “My teammates have really helped me a lot, and they’ve pushed me to get better.”
Among the many factors that attracted the M-CHS outfielder/first baseman/pitcher to Dordt University was the fact that the Wall Street Journal recently ranked the private Christian college No. 1 in terms of student-engagement.
The opportunity to play against high-level talent at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school that competes in the Great Planes Athletic Conference was also enticing to Likes, who has feasted off of Western Slope pitching since cracking the M-CHS varsity lineup and batting .362 with 17 RBIs during his sophomore season.
“Everything is a step up in every way,” said Likes, when asked what he is looking forward to most about competing at the college level. “Hitting is definitely going to be the hardest off of guys who are throwing in the high 80’s and low 90’s.”
Although his goal of competing at the college level could have been derailed after the Colorado Activities Association canceled last year’s high school baseball season, Likes turned the setback into motivation and continued working out as a member of the Cortez Freedom Cats throughout the summer.
After visiting Dordt University, which finished last season with a 4-14 record overall, Likes stayed in touch with the program’s coaches before eventually receiving a scholarship offer from the school.
“I’m going to try to be a positive leader and try to be the best that I can be,” said Likes, who plans to split time between center field, first base and the pitching mound. “I want to better all the guys around me in the clubhouse and on the field. I want to make them the best versions of themselves that they can be because that’s what my coaches have taught me.”
Flanked by M-CHS manager Tim Passell, M-CHS athletic director David Robinson, and members of his family during a signing ceremony that took place at McAndrew Field at Cortez, Likes flashed a million-dollar grin before offering the following advice to young players in his Cortez community.
“Just keep pushing and trust yourself,” Likes said. “Believe in the process and don’t ever give up. There have been times that I’ve felt low and felt like I was too small to play college baseball, but you can prove anybody wrong as long as you put your mind to it.”