East baseball has two sign to play in college
East Davidson baseball will take the diamond this spring with a pair of college-bound seniors leading the way.
Outfielder Tyler Stroup has signed to play for NCAA Division I school Appalachian State University and pitcher Avery Bowles will join the staff at Division II Catawba College. The two made it official during a press conference at the school Wednesday.
Stroup is a complete player who can flat out fly in the outfield and has a sweet swing at the plate. Ledford fans got a close look at the strength of his arm last season when he threw out two runners at home plate on consecutive plays. He batted .446 with 33 hits, 25 RBIs and three home runs as a junior. On the basepaths he was perfect swiping nine bases in nine tries.
“Tyler gets to anything in the outfield and has a great arm,” said East coach Dan Tricarico. “At the plate he swings the bat really well. Tyler is one of those few guys that come through that has all the tools. He is deserving of playing at a place like Appalachian.”
The Mountaineers spotted Stroup’s talents during travel ball and kept in touch. Stroup fell in love with the program and felt it was a nice fit for him.
“I really liked the campus and coaches and the field is nice,” Stroup said. “I have always wanted to play college baseball. It is like a dream.”
A crafty right-hander on the hill, Bowles turned in a stellar junior campaign after struggling as a sophomore. In 2011, he went 2-5 in 12 appearances. Working hard in the offseason, Bowles came into 2012 mentally and physically stronger, posting a sparkling 10-1 record in 16 appearances. He finished with a 1.43 ERA, striking out 70 with only eight walks. Four of his starts were complete-game efforts.
“Avery has probably improved more in a year’s time than anybody I have ever coached,” Tricarico said. “He made a commitment to really work hard and get better. We saw a huge difference from his sophomore to junior year.”
While pitching in a legion game this summer in Salisbury, Bowles impressed Rowan County skipper Jim Gantt, who just happens to be the head coach at Catawba.
“Catawba is close by and I really like the program up there,” said Bowles. “It is a great atmosphere and the team is really good. It is a good fit for me. I cannot wait to step in there and see what I can do.”
Up first for the two is a final season of high school baseball that should be promising for the Golden Eagles. The team lost only three seniors from a 2011 squad that made a deep run in the playoffs.
“We are looking for great things out of these guys. They will be part of a core group of seniors that will hopefully help us be successful,” said Tricarico.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.