Portland senior Jake Knop gets a round of applause Wednesday morning after signing his National Letter of Intent to attend and play baseball at Manhattan College.
Knop, joined at the signing by his parents, Dave and Alisa, brother Sam, grandparents Alan and Fran, baseball coach Mike Rutherford and classmates Issiah Bachelder, Dylan Bolduc and Dylan Wike, said that Manhattan was the best fit for him.
“Manhattan plays high level baseball and I wanted to go to school out of state,” said Knop, a shortstop in high school who projects to play in the outfield in college. “Playing in college has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. It became more of a reality in high school when I saw that I could play with the top kids who were being recruited.”
Knop, who applied to the School of Engineering at Manhattan, credited two local coaching legends for getting him to the next level.
“Coach Rutherford has helped me a lot with my footwork and has made my game more efficient,” said Knop. (AAU Coach Mike) D’Andrea has helped me more on offense, throwing me batting practice.”
Rutherford feels that Knop has what it takes to succeed on the college diamond.
“I’ve coached a bunch of D1 athletes and like Jake, they just stand out,” Rutherford said. “When I first saw him play, I thought he could play in college. He plays the game so hard, at a different level. He has great hands and mechanics.”
Knop is also a key member of Portland’s regional finalist football team which hosts Windham Friday.