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More signings for local athletes

060719-A-G Signing
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Ayden-Grifton athletes Blake McLawhorn (left) and Austin Jones sign to join the Louisburg College baseball team.

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Another batch of local high school athletes signed letters of intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at the next level.

Chargers duo inks to Louisburg College

After rounding out their careers with their best statistical seasons, Ayden-Grifton baseball players Blake McLawhorn and Austin Jones made their commitments to Louisburg College.

“They have been great ambassadors for our program,” Chargers head coach Corey Skinner said. “They came to work everyday, a clock in clock out mentality. They always represented the program as best they could, whether they were actually playing for us that day or out in the community or playing for another team. They were always great representatives and ambassadors of our program.”

McLawhorn, who also played as the Chargers starting quarterback, made the choice midway through his senior season to fully commit to baseball. He plans to major in business. 

“I had a good year in baseball,” McLawhorn said. “I just didn’t want it to all be over with at the end of this year.” 

Jones also plans to study business or possibly general education. 

“Louisburg is a great school and was just a great fit for me,” Jones said. “I liked the coaching staff and the campus. It was an easy choice for me.” 

Jones was excited knowing that he and his longtime friend and teammate would be moving to the next level together. 

“It’s a great feeling,” Jones said. “He’s been my best friend and we’ve been playing together forever. It’s great to have the opportunity to keep playing with him, and that just makes Louisburg even better.” 

Lenoir CC picks up three Vikings, PCC gets Hoffler

D.H. Conley saw another four members of its 13 man baseball senior class officially sign.

Damien Tetterton, Chandler Baldree and Cody Thompson all signed to join the Lenoir Community College, while star reliever Mitchell Hoffler will join Pitt Community College.

“I didn’t want to end my baseball career yet,” Thompson said. “I had the opportunity to keep playing and I couldn’t pass it up.”

Thompson added he expects to become a full time pitcher for the Lancers. 

Hoffler, the lone PCC signee of the group, was the key relief pitcher for DHC last season, finishing with a 4-2 record and team best six saves. 

“This season was a lot of fun,” Hoffler said. “I had a tough job coming into games and closing the door. A lot of times where we were up or down one run and I had to come in and get the save, but it helped me get to where I am today.”

Tetterton will continue to play through the summer as part of the Post 39 American Legion squad. 

“I had a chance to keep playing and I just took it,” he said. “It a chance for me to take my game to another level.” 

Like Thompson and Hoffler, Tetteron will be a pitcher, and said he is looking to improve on his fastball, curveball and overall velocity. 

Baldree, a utility infielder and pitcher, was proud of the Vikings season and the teams ability to recover after losses.

“We suffered a couple losses when we were on a roll,” he said. “The next day at practice we just rebounded and got back to work. Coach Mills would tell us we didn’t have to practice, but we came out and wanted to hit.”

Mills spoke highly of all four of of his seniors.

“I’m so excited for these four,” Mills said. “They’ve all put in the work and played extremely hard and their futures are bright. The chance to get your education and continue playing baseball is always an exciting thing.”

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

Rams Sutton off to Mount Olive

Greene Central senior Kaliya Sutton completed her goal of making it to the next level. The Rams standout forward signed to play basketball at Mount Olive in the Ram Pen on Thursday.

Not only did she sign to play the sport she loves, but she’ll be graduating Saturday along with the rest of the Rams class of 2019.

As the only senior on the girls basketball team, she led the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals per game this past season.

“It means a lot,” she said. “Since I was a freshman, I worked hard, so I could have a chance to make it to the next level and that hard work paid off. This is a great moment for me and my family.”

Although the Rams didn’t win a game in 2018-19, they were competitive in a lot of games thanks to Sutton. Head coach Tammy Elbert will certainly miss her leadership and athleticism.

“It’s awesome,” coach Elbert said about Sutton. “It’s a great accomplishment and she’s a great athlete. Kaliya is going to a great program and she’ll always have our support no matter what. I can’t wait to see her play up there.”

Sutton will join a Mount Olive squad that went 17-11 under head coach Wendy Lee last season. She’ll be studying business management when she gets to school this fall.

“I wanted to lead by example throughout the season,” Sutton said about her senior year. “If they put the work in, I think the Rams will be really good next year. I’ll really miss my teammates, coaches and the great fans we have.”

                                                                                                                                            -Laieke Abebe, The Daily Reflector

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