Mikey Green already had his bags packed for Colorado.
Green, a 2021 Rainier High School graduate, had just wrapped up four successful seasons of varsity baseball and was committed to play for Otero Junior College baseball in La Junta, Colorado.
It was just last week when Green was supposed to fly out to Colorado to begin his collegiate baseball career. That very same day, he received a phone call that would alter the course of his future.
It was William Penn University in Iowa.
A couple of the Statesmen’s catchers had been injured and left the team. The coaching staff had watched some videos of Green hitting and were immediately interested. Green, who’s also an exceptional defensive catcher, had batted .333 with 10 RBI, 11 runs, four doubles and two triples as a senior.
The Statesmen’s baseball team had already offered him a scholarship in early July, but the money wasn’t enough. This time, they upped the scholarship money and Green accepted.
It wasn’t just about the money. Green already had a connection with the team, having played for one of the Statesmen’s scouts when he was younger.
“I’m very happy I decided to go there,” Green said. “The coach (Mike Laird) is really nice. He feels like more of a coach than the other coaches I talked to. It just made sense.”
He’ll also be close to former Rainier teammate Brody Klein, who’s competing in football and track for Division III Central College in Pella, Iowa, located just 17 miles from William Penn’s campus in Oskaloosa.
“I got lucky there. I didn’t even know where Brody was to be honest,” Green said. “I thought he was further away from me. I texted him the other day and said, ‘Do you know where William Penn is?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, that’s like 30 minutes away from me, dude.’ He’s like, ‘We can go fishing!’”
It’s been a rewarding journey so far for Green, who first began playing baseball at just 3 years old. His dad, Larry Green, agreed to coach a T-ball team so long as Mikey could play, even though he was a year younger than the required age of 4.
He would continue playing through the Yelm School District before transferring to Rainier his eighth grade year. His freshman year, the longtime outfielder earned a starting role on varsity, just not where he imagined.
“(Rainier coach Mark) Mounts looked at me and said, ‘You’re gonna play catcher,’” Green said. “I was like, ‘OK, whatever you say. Whatever’s going to make me play.’”
The decision worked out as Green would go on to become a four-year starter and earn all-league and all-area honors. He would help the Mountaineers place fourth at the 2B state tournament as a sophomore. It’s the one memory he’ll never forget from his time at Rainier.
“I’m going to remember the 2019 team that went to the final four, like how bonded we were together and how Mounts put us in a really good situation to succeed,” Green said.
And he grew into the team leader Mounts needed.
“Heart and soul of our team,” Mounts said. “Plays with a passion and energy and joy that is unparalleled. Constantly trying to make his teammates better.”
Green made his mark across three total sports at Rainier, also playing basketball and was the starting quarterback, earning all-league and all-area honors after throwing for an area-high 925 yards to go with nine touchdowns through the air while running for 231 more yards and two touchdowns.
Now he’ll get the opportunity to showcase his skills at the next level. William Penn went 34-18 overall while competing in the Heart of America Athletic Conference’s North Division in 2021, falling one game short of the conference championship in May.
Green leaves for Iowa Thursday to embark on the next chapter of his life. His first day of school and practice both begin on Monday. He’s most looking forward to experiencing something new.
“It just seems, like, exciting,” Green said. “It feels like it’s going to be a little Rainier. It’s not a super-big college. It’s small like Rainier is, but it just seems like everyone there is passionate about what they’re doing and I like that.”