Ben makes his choice

When it came time to decide where to continue his baseball career, Ben Matteson wanted a place he was familiar with.

The Alpena High senior found such a place at Northland College and he made his choice official on Friday when he signed a Letter of Intent to play baseball with the LumberJacks.

“I’m very excited, very excited,” Matteson said. “It’s always nice to know I can carry on my career after high school and I don’t have to worry about stopping (after high school).”

The Division III college located in Ashland, Wisc. is more than eight hours away from Alpena, but after visiting the campus in March, it felt just like home to Matteson.

“I really, really liked it up there and decided right then that was the place for me. It felt a lot like Alpena and you can’t beat the feeling of home,” Matteson said. “That’s what it felt like and all the guys were really welcoming and it was a great community to be in.”

Matteson plans to study business management and figures to catch for Northland as well. He currently catches for the Wildcats, but said he’ll likely see some time at third base in college too as Northland is big on utility players who can play multiple spots.

The LumberJacks, who compete in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, are 14-17 this season. They went 18-25 in 2015 and 22-17 in 2014.

Several Alpena players have gone on to play college baseball in recent years, but many of them ended up at in-state schools. In Matteson’s case, the Internet proved to be a big help toward finding his school of choice. Like many local athletes, Matteson has a scouting profile on ncsasports.org, a Web site where athletes can list their athletic particulars as well as highlight videos to gain the attention of schools.

“I was on a scouting Web site and they contacted me, they emailed me. I emailed them back and they watched a couple of my showcase videos and were really impressed,” Matteson said. “They saw my numbers and they were really impressed.”

Matteson’s videos allowed coaches to see his form at the plate as well as his throwing ability as a catcher.

“It’s very helpful. Coming from Alpena, not a lot of schools come up here for baseball,” Matteson said. “So it helps you get your name out there and get recognized.”

While he’s still busy managing Alpena’s pitching staff and hoping to help the Wildcats win conference and district titles this spring, Matteson said he’s looking forward to the challenge of college baseball.

“(I’ll) probably (have to get used to) the size,” Matteson said. “Down here you don’t have a lot of bigger guys and up there, playing college ball, you’ve got a lot of guys that can hit for power and not just contact.”

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.