Platte County star Mitchell commits to Oklahoma for baseball

BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen file photo Platte County catcher Justin Mitchell picks a pitch in the dirt in a game against Park Hill South on Wednesday, April 1 at Park Hill South High School in Riverside, Mo. During the recruiting process, Justin Mitchell took a message to heart on how to pick his college.

Platte County’s standout junior went with Oklahoma University to continue his baseball career, making the choice official by announcing his verbal commitment on social media last week. He picked the Sooners out of a crowded list of suitors that also included Missouri, Arkansas and Missouri State.

“I just followed my heart,” Mitchell said of his choice. “Somebody told me that after I went on visits, the place I wanted to go would feel right when I left, and that was Oklahoma.”

Already a two-year starter at catcher for Platte County, Mitchell made his commitment ahead of another open recruiting period, which will allow him to quarterback the football team without distractions. The recruiting process picked up during the 2014-15 school year, and he started receiving offers and taking visits during his sophomore year.

In picking Oklahoma, Mitchell also had to let coaches at Missouri, Arkansas and Missouri State know of his decision.

“I called all three. They were all disappointed, but it’s not like it’s the first time they’ve heard no,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell led Platte County’s offense as a freshman and posted another solid season last year, earning All-Suburban Conference Blue Division honors. He hit .376 with a .426 on-base percentage while showing consistent power in 28 games, collecting eight doubles, four triples and three home runs.

Hitting third in the order most of the season, Mitchell drove in 19 runs and scored 25 for the Pirates, who finished 17-11 but lost in the first round of the Class 5 District 16 Tournament to Park Hill.

Mitchell was recruited to play different spots, depending on the school. He could wind up at catcher but also has potential to play corner outfield or possibly infield spots at Oklahoma. The Sooners went 34-27 last season and 13-11 in Big 12 play, tied for third with Texas Tech.