Jake Oden has been one of Pine Tree's stalwarts in football and baseball the past few seasons, and Oden will continue his baseball career at the next level.

Oden signed last week with Paris Junior College, picking the Dragons over SFA and ETBU. He also considered Trinity University for football.

"I chose Paris because my family and I think it will be the best fit for me," Oden said. "When I went for a tryout I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere and work ethic that the team and coaching staff bring to the field."

Oden hit .254 with one home run, 13 RBIs, and four doubles as a junior, when he had a on-base percentage of almost .400. He expects to play in the outfield for PJC.

Oden, who may major in finance or business management, said he hopes to improve his plate consistency to prepare for the next level.

"And to not be so hard on myself," he said. "A little more work on my speed would help as well. My defense and instinct for the game are my strongest attributes."

Oden helped Pine Tree win 20 games a year ago, which was the first season the Pirates won a playoff game since 2002. He has high expectations for his senior season, including winning a District 14-4A title and making a deep playoff run. So far, PT is 4-2 entering the Oil Belt Classic in Kilgore. Pine Tree plays Nacogdoches at 9 a.m. and Queen City at 1:10 p.m.

"We all have high hopes, and know we can achieve these goals when we get our full system in," Oden said. "We got a new coaching staff this year and they are a perfect fit for us. We believe in what they bring to the table because they are all very knowledgable about baseball."

Oden started at quarterback for most of the 2012 football season. He completed 68 of 132 passes for 1,129 yards, six touchdowns, and six interceptions. He ran 76 times for a team-leading 583 yards and five touchdowns.