Sam Olsson made a couple of stops on his return trip home.
The Sheldon High graduate began his college baseball career at San Jose State and played last year at Tacoma Community College before signing with Oregon. New coach Mark Wasikowski began recruiting Olsson in high school when he was an assistant at Oregon in 2016 before he left to become head coach at Purdue.
“I really liked Sam’s makeup and competitiveness,” Wasikowski said. “I like the offensive approach he brings. He’s not the tallest of kids, but he has real strength, a Popeye forearm kind of guy. Sammy is a hard worker who has definitely added to the program.”
The 5-foot-11 Olsson batted .344 with seven homers and 39 doubles last season for the Titans to earn a few scholarship offers.
“Once Waz gave me a call, then it was a no-brainer because I know he is an awesome guy who will get me to where I want to be,” Olsson said. “It was cool to get a call back from him after he was talking to me earlier in high school.”
Olsson began his college career at San Jose State in 2018 when he batted .239 in 22 games, including nine starts, before spending last year in junior college.
“That was not so much about the baseball part of it, but the mentality part,” said Olsson, who was a first-team all-Northwest Athletic Conference selection last year. “It really tests you with your mentality. You are at the yard the whole day so you see if you really love the game. It was really fun and then I got here and it has been even more fun so it kind of kept stacking on.”
Olsson was part of a four-way competition during preseason practices to become Oregon’s starting catcher as the Ducks prepare to open the season against Minnesota on Friday at the Angels College Classic in Tempe, Ariz. Wasikowski announced on Tuesday that Olsson won the starting job to open the season.
“It’s a heck of a competition, it is still evolving,” the coach said. “Sam has consistently throughout scrimmages in the spring emerged as the leader and he’ll get the start.”
Freshman Jack Scanlon and sophomore Aaron Zavala are behind Olsson on the depth chart with Parker Schmidt also working at that position.
“Hopefully it is as competitive as possible for every one of the guys,” Olsson said. “You want everyone to be successful and you want the guy next to you to get better every day. At the same time, obviously you want to win the starting job so it is competitive, but that is good for us. Even if we had a returning starter, everyone still has to prove themselves.”
Olsson joins Marist graduate Marcus Lydon and former Thurston star Decker Stedman in Wasikowski’s first recruiting class.
“This is my home and always will be so it is pretty cool to be playing for the Ducks,” Olsson said.