After teaming up to lead the Salem Greyhounds' diamond troops the past couple of years, Jake Bontrager and Brandon Sisler are headed off to Parsons, Kan., to become members of the Labette Community College Cardinals' baseball squad. The Cardinals are members of the National Junior College Athletic Association.
The pair of former Greyhound standouts inked letters of intent in a ceremony at Salem High School July 9.
According to Greyhound Head Coach Wayne Guiltner, Bontrager and Sisler should benefit from the time they will spend at the junior college.
"The main thing is, it gives them a chance to continue their education and play ball," he said. "They'll have a good time there and will play some competitive ball."
Guiltner should know. Before graduating from the University of Central Arkansas, Guiltner spent a couple of years playing at Labette.
The Cardinals have had success at not only sending players on to four-year colleges, but the ultimate level as well. Seventeen players with ties to Labette have been drafted by Major League Baseball teams.
With Salem making it to the state playoffs last year and the regional tourney this past season, Cardinal Head Coach Aaron Keal is getting not only a pair of skilled baseball players, but a couple of young men equipped with leadership skills as well.
"They're both really good leaders," Guiltner said. "They've played a big part in our success the past few years."
Bontrager, an outfielder, earned All-Conference honors the past three years and All-Region the last two.
Sisler, who will probably split time between shortstop and second base as the Cardinals battle through the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference ranks, earned All-Conference honors twice while playing for the Greyhounds, and he made the All-Regional team once.
"They both watch a lot of baseball games," said Guiltner. "They really understand the right way to play the game, and that makes them very good, fundamental players. It's really been a great joy to coach them."