PRESTON — Preston High senior Isaiah Finlayson signed to play baseball for Blue Mountain Community College on Nov. 14, in the Preston High School gym.
Finlayson accepted a 2/3 tuition offer with work grants. He has not yet settled on a major but is interested in computer science, architecture or construction. Finlayson will join the team in Pendleton, Oregon, for the 2020 fall semester and couldn’t be happier about the prospect.
“I am extremely grateful to coach (Brad) Baker for giving me this opportunity to be a Timberwolf," Finlayson said. "I can’t wait to be a Wolf.
“I really enjoyed my visit up there,” Finlayson continued. “I got along with the guys and they were all really helpful. Coach Baker’s style and the way he’s changing their culture was also a really big reason I chose BMCC.”
Finlayson excels in both baseball and football at Preston, but baseball is his priority.
“This is exciting because it’s a childhood dream," he said. "Growing up, baseball was always my sport and true love. Every kid grows up wanting to be a college baseball player, and signing made my dream come true. I chose baseball over football because baseball is just my sport. It’s what I’m willing to work for and commit to. It’s something I am very passionate about and know I will be passionate about for a very long time.”
As a junior this past season, Finlayson hit .462 with 10 extra-base hits and 12 stolen bases in 22 games. He also registered 63 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings pitched.
"Isaiah is an excellent athlete who can play every infield position," BMCC said in a news release. "He has great pop in his bat, a plus arm, and can also contribute on the mound. Isaiah puts in a lot of extra time in the cage and we look forward to seeing that dedication next year."
Finlayson and his cousin, Trei Hough, share a love for baseball and look forward to continuing their friendly rivalry at the next level.
Hough is a 2019 Pocatello High School graduate who is a freshman baseball player at Treasure Valley Community College, a rival in the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC).
BMCC also recently signed Pocatello's Riley Peck, a left-handed pitcher.
“Me and my cousin Trei are kind of the first true baseball junkies in our family,” Finlayson said. “We will be able to bring back the Preston versus Poky cousin rivalry and that’s pretty exciting.”
There are many people Finlayson feels have helped him be successful in baseball and have earned his admiration. Former Preston coach Scott Madsen was right there at the top.
”I played on his travel ball team when I was 12, and he really taught me the game," Finlayson said. "He played in the minor leagues, so he’s obviously someone I look up to ... and not only as a baseball player but as a father, and man. Also, Chance Randell and all the dudes I played with on the (Smithfield) Blue Sox. I look up to those guys a lot. My high school coach Kenny (Inglet) is someone I look up to tremendously as an example of loving the game and committing yourself to learning and working hard. He’s another one of those guys I look up to as a man and father just as much as in baseball.”
Finlayson also noted the importance of his family.
“I would first of all like to thank mom. I wouldn’t be where I am without her, she’s my biggest fan and supporter," he said. "I would also like to thank the rest of my family and friends for helping me get to where I am. Thanks to coach Kenny, Phillips, Howe, Atkinson, Madsen, Thorson and both my dads for being my coaches.”
The Idaho State Journal contributed to this report.