By John Burbridge firstname.lastname@example.org
CHARLES CITY — Theo Arndt and Dylan Salinas have been battery mates for nearly 14 years.
“I think we first started playing catch with each other in preschool,” said Arndt, who is due to be Charles City’s No. 1 starting pitcher come spring.
“He’s been my catcher ever since.”
Guess keeping the two Comet teammates together for another four years won’t hurt.
Last Friday (Feb. 9), the longtime battery mates signed on to continue their careers at Wartburg College.
“I was the one who decided to go there first,” Salinas said. “I think that probably influenced Theo to go there, too.”
Arndt, perhaps showing that he can shake off a sign and make his own decisions, says that he was planning on going to Wartburg, anyway.
“But when I found out that Dylan was going, it made the decision easier,” Arndt said.
Since Wartburg is an NCAA Division III school, none of the Knights’ coaching staff were allowed to attend the signing. But Comet head coach Tyler Downing was present, and he couldn’t have been more proud as the double signing represented a first during his five-year tenure.
“They will be the first players who I have coached as a head coach to go to college playing baseball,” Downing said.
Downing may be happy for Theo and Dylan, but you can’t blame him for being envious of them, too.
Wartburg’s home field — Hertel Field — with its FieldTurf and stadium seating is something Downing remarked will be a good model for the proposed sports complex.
“But that’s still up in the air,” Downing said.
Arndt and Salinas are sure excited about their future new digs.
“You get a much truer bounce while playing the infield,” Arndt said.
“We do seem to play better there,” Salinas said.
Last season, Arndt hit .310 for the Comets and led the team in walks. As a pitcher, he was 3-6 with an earned run average of 2.86.
Salinas led the Comets with 19 RBIs and — in a category not always strove for — 10 hit-by-pitches. Salinas also threw out six would-be base stealers.
Arndt and Salinas will be going to a winning program that was 33-14 last season. They hope their senior season with Charles City will also be a winning one.
“This is our last go-around … we want to make it to state,” said Arndt, who plans to study economics and political science.
Salinas plans to study biology.