PHILIPSBURG — There are just some athletes that are meant to play certain sports.
For Philipsburg-Osceola senior Keegan Soltis, baseball has been a centerpiece of his family for four generations.
“My great grandfather, Don Billotte coached Clearfield Post 6 Legion Baseball for 30 years,” Soltis said. “He coached my grandfather (Sam Wallace) and coached against my grandfather (Joe Soltis). Baseball is the one common thing that continues to bring everyone in our family together.”
Soltis started playing baseball at the age of four. He’s started for the Mounties varsity baseball team since he was a freshman and has earned three letters so far.
Last season, he missed three games with a foot injury, but still managed to lead Progressland in RBIs, hits, batting average and home runs. For his efforts, he was named the 2019 Progressland Player of the Year.
Soltis has also played basketball since the age of six. He holds three letters in the sport. He is also a two-letterwinner in golf and football.
The Mountie said he loves sports for many reasons.
“I love the competition and the friendships I have built,” he said. “From a very young age, I was a competitor and hated to lose. Losing was never an option. I have made some great friendships over the years that will stay with me forever.”
His favorite sport is still baseball. It’s also the sport that holds his greatest memory.
“My favorite game during my high school career would be the District VI semifinal game against Forest Hills in 2019,” said Soltis. “It was the game that sent us to the championship against Mount Union, and hitting a go-ahead home run in the 6th inning was icing on top of the cake.”
Soltis said he looks to his family, specifically his parents and his grandparents as his role models.
“It is really hard to pick just one,” said Soltis. “I would say my parents and grandparents all are. Between weekend baseball tournaments, driving through the night (after a football game or golf match) so I can play baseball the next morning or taking days off of work to come watch me play. The sacrifices they have made for me over the years have provided me with every possible opportunity in the classroom and on the field.”
Off the field, Soltis is involved in the National Honor Society, Student Council, Prom Committee and Younglife. He also likes to hunt and fish when he has time.
“Time is a valuable piece of a student-athletes life,” he said. “When I was younger, I always had to do my homework before any sporting events or practices. As I got older, I had to learn to manage my time to make sure I was able to complete my homework, have some time to relax and still get a good night’s sleep.”
Soltis said losing part of his school year and baseball season has been tough, but he felt it was the right decision.
“COVID-19 is something that is out of my control,” he said. “It is not the way I pictured my senior year of baseball. Every day it gets harder knowing that I may not get to step on the diamond with my brothers. The only thing I can control is my work ethic, diet, and attitude towards the situation.”
Soltis is the son of Niki and Jimmy Soltis. He plans to attend Millersville University in the fall where he will play baseball for the Marauders. He is undecided in his major.