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Rosa the Dancer
Rosa the Dancer
May 25, 2024

Matt Keller: Who’s on first?

Matt+Keller%3A+Whos+on+first%3F

Senior Matt Keller dominates three varsity sports

With a calm but confident demeanor, he fist bumps youth baseball players and invites them onto the field for the national anthem alongside himself. When they run off the field with the biggest smiles on their faces, they say, “I got to go on the field with number 39!”

Making stretches and jumps for throws that weren’t quite perfect, and being quick on his feet to pick off a runner, he graces the diamond with four years of varsity baseball experience as a first baseman under his belt. When he walks up to the plate and his name is announced, the crowd goes wild.

Senior bearcathlete Matt Keller is such a dominant force in varsity footbaMatts cat in hat 2ll, basketball, and baseball that he has earned the 2016 Bearcathlete title from this newsmagazine.

Keller has a .259 batting average with an on base percentage of .333, 22 hits, 17 RBI’s, and 11 runs in his senior season alone.

However, it doesn’t stop with the bat. Keller has dominated first base for the past four season and has made his pitching debut this season with only 3.50 runs earned against him with 140 pitches in eight innings pitched, while striking out 12 of 36 batters faced.

“Being a pitcher, there’s more responsibility, and I like the pressure that’s put on you to get the batter out. And when you strike him out there’s this rush of hype and excitement—and it’s awesome!” Keller said.

Keller’s enthusiasm for baseball began when he was three years old playing catch in the backyard with his father. Ever since then, he was swinging the bat from T-ball to high school “for the love of the game.”
In baseball, Keller has earned All League honors twice, making Second Team sophomore year and First Team junior year while advancing to the second round of CIF sophomore year.

Keller has piled up honors for football, as well, receiving All League honors twice. Junior year he was granted Second Team, and senior year First Team. He played on the varsity level for three years and was one of three captains this season along with seniors Ty Jones and Evan Espinoza, playing middle linebacker for the varsity squad ever since he was pulled up as a freshman for CIF playoffs. As the captain of the 52 man team, alongside senior Blake Irysh and Justin Davis, Keller led the Bearcats through a five win, five loss season while mixing it up on the football field like he did on the baseball diamond. While Keller is known for his powerful defense, this season he rushed a total of 100 yards for three touchdowns, and received 86 yards for one additional touchdown on the offensive side.

“He was the heart and soul of our defense this year. Matt is a positive role model. He became more vocal as the season progressed, but mostly he leads by example. It’s tough being a leader… Matt did a great job the last few years leading us the bearcat way,” said varsity football coach Rich Schimke, who has been coaching Keller for the past three years.

Along with baseball and football, Keller developed a love for basketball after his father played center throughout his high school career at PRHS. Keller began his 10 year basketball stint as a power forward playing alongside Davis, his best friend since kindergarten, in elementary school in the Paso Robles recreational league.

“I have always loved being on a team with Matt because we have a lot in common, and we both love to compete. Matt has showed me to never quit and how to be a great leader. He is a great guy to look up to,” Davis said.

“I push him, and he pushes me, and we just help each other out,” said Keller.

On Dec. 11, 2015, things took a turn for the worst. While playing Garces high school at the North High Shootout tournament in Bakersfield in the fourth quarter, Keller jumped up for a rebound when an opposing player pushed him from behind causing him to fall and slam his right knee on the court. On Jan. 12, 2016, Keller went under the knife to repair the torn meniscus obtained that night.

Although sitting out the entire basketball season was heartbreaking, Keller had a strong support team made up of Davis, his family and fellow Bearcathlete Chloe Kerns to get him through it.
After eight weeks of rehab, Keller was able to return to his most beloved sport; baseball. He hopes to continue his baseball career at Cuesta College next fall playing as a Cougar.

Keller would like to be remembered as an athlete “who doesn’t quit no matter what the outcome of the game or the score or anything,” and with his humble, loving personality, combined with immense amount of skill, there is no doubt that he will be remembered as anything less.

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