Justin Younger knows that the experience he is about to embark on doesn't happen to everyone.
The Harrisburg High School senior signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Southeastern Illinois College.
"I am getting the opportunity to play baseball at the next level. It's a feeling I can't describe," Younger said. "I've loved baseball since I was a little kid and being able to continue playing in college means a lot to me."
Younger's signing at SIC is the second of local area kids as head coach Jeremy Irlbeck also signed Gallatin County's Wes McGuire. In total, Irlbeck has signed four for next year's class.
Younger’s signing to play at the next level is joined by a others at Harrisburg High School that include Ryne Roper (Illinois), Cody Hall (Lake Land), Capel Henshaw (Lewis), Dakota Upchurch (Southern Illinois University) and Isaac Ingram (McKendree).
The desire to add more local flavor to the roster is something that is high on Irlbeck's priority list.
"What I'm trying to do is bring in kids from across the area that can play. It doesn't make sense for a kid that can compete and play in our conference to go to John A. Logan or Rend Lake. If they can live at home, come here and compete, that gives them the best of both worlds.
"They are in the In-District rate, plus they can live at home and save a bunch of money and have the opportunity to get a good education and still compete. I think that's something that Justin can provide for us."
Younger, a 3-sport athlete all four years of high school, participating in football, basketball and baseball believes that his presence in the outfield is one of his key strengths and Irlbeck agreed with many of Younger's sentiments.
"I feel like being able to cover a lot of ground in the outfield is one of my bigger strengths," Younger said. "I also feel like I have a strong arm that allows me to throw the ball where it needs to be."
Irlbeck, recently hired at SIC, had a chance to see both Younger and McGuire this fall and despite some time away from the diamond, the new Falcons' head coach didn't feel like Younger missed much of a beat.
"I was actually able to see both of them this fall on the baseball diamond. Justin, it looked like that might have been the first time he picked up a baseball after football season and still looked like he had a presence out there and looked like he played the game the right way, which is a good thing."
Younger still feels that he needs to improve on his hitting to be successful at the next level.
Page 2 of 2 - "Hitting with power has never been a huge strong suit of mine, so I'd like to be able to improve on that. I'd also like to become better at recognizing pitches."
Younger acknowledged the hard work he has put in to be able to play at the next level and not just on the diamond.
Younger is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta.
"Receiving this opportunity has made me realize that hard work does pay off and dreams do come true."
Michael Dann can be reached at hbgsports@dailyregister. com Follow Michael Dann on Twitter @spydieshooter.