Pair of Scorpion baseball players sign on with college programs
- Farmington High School's baseball season opens Saturday, Feb. 26 at home against Miyamura
FARMINGTON — A pair of Farmington High School baseball stars have signed letters of intent to take their game to the collegiate level.
Aiden Talcott, who played both as a pitcher and infielder for the Scorpions for the past three seasons, has signed on to attend Houghton College in Caneadea, New York while Zach Raichel, who pitched for Farmington last season, signed on to attend Wayland Baptist College in Plainview, Texas.
Talcott will join a Houghton College team representing NCAA Division III in the Empire Eight Conference. The Highlanders finished second in the conference last year with a record of 20-14.
Coached by Brian Reitnour, who's been with the program since 2010, Houghton College's baseball team was eliminated from the playoffs last season by Utica College, losing two games to one in the first round of the conference tournament.
It was the Highlanders first winning season in more than a decade.
Raichel, who won three games for the Scorpions during an abbreviated campaign last spring, will be attending Wayland Baptist College, representing the Sooner Athletic Conference in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
The Pioneers, who are led by first year head coach and Carlsbad native Todd Weldon, went 26-25 last year. Weldon replaced Brad Bass, who'd been with the program for 26 years before accepting a coaching position last summer at Arlington Baptist College.
Weldon, who pitched for the Carlsbad High School baseball team from 2005 to 2008, played at Western Baptist for two seasons before serving as a pitching coach from 2013 to 2018.
"I related to (Weldon) very well," Raichel said. "We have a lot of the same stories about being the kid from the middle of nowhere that nobody thinks about, and that really motivated me."
Weldon had a chance to visit with Raichel during a visit to the campus late last year.
"(Raichel) is a quality young man who's got some tools and really wanted to continue his career," Weldon said. "He worked out for us and pitched some bullpen and we got to see him in his element."
Raichel, who's excited about his upcoming senior season which starts next month for the Scorpions, visited the Wayland College campus in Plainview before making his decision.
"The town isn't that much different from Farmington," Raichel said. "It's a very old fashioned kind of place and that really made me feel good about the decision."
Raichel and Talcott will both be integral parts of the Scorpions baseball team this season, looking to get back into contention for a Class 5A state championship, which they last won in 2018.
The Scorpions finished last season with a record of 12-8 overall (6-4 District 2-5A) and will be coached this season by Kary King.
The Scorpions will open the baseball season on Saturday, Feb. 26 when they host Miyamura.
"Our goal is a state championship," Raichel said. "That's what we're going to be doing is to go out there and break a lot of hearts along the way."
Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680.