Havre Daily News Sports
Havre High School senior and three-sport star Daine Solomon announced recently that he has signed a national letter of intent to play baseball for coach Randy Putnam and the Wallace State Lions in Hanceville, Ala.
Wallace State is rated as one of the top Division I junior college baseball programs in the nation. Solomon will receive a full athletic scholarship to play for the Lions beginning next fall.
While Hanceville is a long way from Havre, Solomon said that a specific set of circumstances led him to the prestigious Alabama school.
The road to signing with the Lions began in 2001 when Solomon attended a professional workout in San Diego. There he was selected to play on an all-star team that played games in Florida in December of 2002.
From there Solomon was introduced to Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle and international scout Mac Siebert, who also works for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and it was his influence that led Solomon to Wallace State.
"If I had not met him (Siebert), I probably would not have been in this position," Solomon said. "But he scouts players from all over the world and he has connections to Wallace State and he advises the school on recruiting only the top players from around the world to go there.
"Once I found out that I was good enough to go there and play it really became an opportunity that I couldn't pass up and a pretty easy decision."
Indeed, Siebert is one of 22 former or current major league players who have played at Wallace State under Putnam.
Putnam has led the Lions to three Southeastern Regional titles and three appearances in the NJCAA College World Series.
While playing for Wallace State is only a two-year deal, Solomon said that his future will depend on how he performs on the field during those to years of junior college.
"The school has placed a lot of players straight into the minor leagues," Solomon said. "But they also send a lot of players on to four-year schools. It just depends on how good you are when your two years are up so we'll have to wait and see on that."
Before Solomon ships off to Alabama he has one more summer of eligibility to play American Legion Baseball for the Havre North Stars.
Heading into the 2004 season, Solomon will be regarded as one of the top baseball prospects in the state of Montana. He has twice been selected to the American Legion Class A all-star tournament and he has helped guide the Northstars to district titles in 2002 and 2003. In 2002 he received the top hitter award at the Class A state tournament.
Solomon is also a standout on the football field and was widely considered as a top collegiate football prospect during his senior season, which made the choice of pursuing a career in baseball a little more difficult.
"I still love to play football," Solomon said. "But with all the connections I have made in baseball, I just couldn't pass it up. But if things don't work out, college football is always an option."
Solomon's list of accomplishments on the gridiron include first team all-state honors at both wide receiver and strong safety in 2003. He earned all-conference honors at both positions as well this season. He has twice been named academic all-state in football and he has recently been selected to play in the East/West Shrine Game and Montana/North Dakota All Star Game. Solomon was also named to the prestigious Tribune Super State team as a wide receiver.
Aside from his football accolades, Solomon is a standout in tennis for the Blue Ponies where he has been a member of three consecutive boys Class A state championship teams. In 2002, he finished second at the Class A state tournament in doubles.
Last year along with partner Jeremy Henninger, Solomon captured the 2003 Class A state doubles title. Solomon also lettered in wrestling as a junior and captured a Central A divisional championship at 152 pounds.
He plans on majoring in Sports Medicine at Wallace State. Daine is the son of Todd and Laurie Solomon. Daine's sister Keelie is a sophomore at HHS.