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Archive for Thursday, November 9, 2000

LHS product Ledbetter signs with Nebraska

Standout catcher to play one season for Garden City before joining Huskers

November 9, 2000

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Curtis Ledbetter, Kansas' high school baseball player of the year after leading Lawrence High to the Class 6A state championship in the spring, unceremoniously signed a national letter of intent Wednesday night to play baseball for Nebraska.

Ledbetter signed the letter from his dorm room at Garden City CC, where he is a freshman catcher.

"They actually came down looking at some other guys and I caught their eye."

Curtis Ledbetter on signing with Nebraska's baseball program

"There was no formal ceremony," Ledbetter said. "Everyone said it was too far out in nowhere. They sent the letter to my house in Lawrence, my parents signed their part and overnighted the letter to me."

In the spring of 2000, Ledbetter had the most productive season in the 15-year history of LHS baseball. He set school records in batting average (.629), home runs (13) and RBIs (47).

Nebraska recruited Ledbetter before his senior season at LHS but never offered him a scholarship.

"They showed a little interest," Ledbetter said. "They saw me work out and called a few times but they never came through. They didn't have any money at the time."

The Huskers renewed their interest in Ledbetter while watching the LHS product play fall baseball at Garden City.

"They actually came down looking at some other guys and I caught their eye," Ledbetter said.

Ledbetter said he'll play for Garden City in the spring before transferring to NU. If Ledbetter was to transfer to Nebraska at the semester break, he would have had to sit out the 2001 season.

"When I came down here it was basically a one-year deal because whether I was going to play for a Div. I program or go pro was still to be determined," Ledbetter said. "He (Garden City coach Todd Briggs) was kind of uneasy about it at first."

Ledbetter, selected five months ago in the 39th round by the Cleveland Indians in the amateur baseball draft, still has pro aspirations. Cleveland will retain the rights to Ledbetter until just before the 2001 draft. He still could sign with the Indians before then, ending his chances of going to Nebraska.

"I'm not sure what they're going to do," Ledbetter said of the Indians. "We keep in touch, here and there. I'm trying to feel them out. I'm not sure they'll take a run at me. I'll still go back in the draft this summer."

If a pro contract doesn't materialize before next fall, Ledbetter will be headed to Lincoln, Neb., where he'll have three years of eligibility left. He then would have to wait until after his junior year to be drafted again.

"The college game is a lot different," Ledbetter said. "You really have to mature fast."

Ledbetter has no problem going to a cold-weather school.

"Playing in Kansas you get used to that stuff," said Ledbetter, who's braved chilly conditions in southwestern Kansas this week. "It's as colder than heck down here."

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