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Roberts signs with Blue Mountain

VINA — Vina senior Brody Roberts had a pretty good year for the Red Devils baseball team last season.

He had a 431 batting average. He hit five doubles and two triples, and totaled 31 RBIs on the season.

Oh, and he is better known as a pitcher, by the way.

This past season Roberts went 6-4 as a starter with a 1.47 ERA. He threw 74 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched with three shutouts and one no hitter.

This being said, no one was surprised when Roberts found his way onto a college team, although it may be surprising that such  talent could be found at the smallest public high school in the state of Alabama.

“I started playing baseball when I was in fourth grade,” Roberts said. “I have played every year except for one since then.”

Such a long career during grade school usually means a player loves the game, and Roberts is no exception.

“Playing baseball you have to work together as a team,” he said. “It’s all about pride and passion, and you have to believe in each other to get the job done.

“Your teammates are your brothers out there. That’s my favorite part of the game.”

Playing baseball at the collegiate level has been a goal of Roberts’ for a “long time.”

“It’s a big blessing,” he said. “Being in college and playing at that level will be a lot different than here, but it’s exciting. It’s a great opportunity.”

Roberts also had a scholarship offer from Martin Methodist, but he chose instead to attend Blue Mountain College.

As of next fall he will be on the Toppers’ baseball squad, and according to Blue Mountain head coach Curt Fowler, the young man will have a chance to make an impact on the field right away.

“We knew coming into this season that pitchers could help us right now,” he said.

“Brody can help us out right away, and given his character and reputation we felt he was a perfect match for our team.

“I told Brody to fully expect he’ll get some playingh time as a true freshman, and how well he does for us this fall will determine what opportunities he’ll get next spring.”

Blue Mountain College is a private Baptist institution located in northeastern Mississippi near Tupelo.

Fowler did not have to travel very far to recruit Roberts, but there were two factors that led him to  hear about Roberts and sign the pitcher.

“Two things led me to Roberts,” Fowler said. “Brent Townsend and Coach [Greg] Hamilton. When [Brent] recommends someone we listen, and obviously Coach Hamilton told us about his player.”

Townsend, whom Fowler spoke so highly of, is a Vina grad and current player at Blue Mountain.

Vina head baseball coach Greg Hamilton now has the distinction of having four former players in the college ranks, with Roberts becoming the latest.

“It feels good to know he’s going to ply in college,” Hamilton said. “He works hard and is an excellent player.

“His desire to be successful is unbelievable. He refused to give in to not winning. He gives 110 percent every second.”

Hamilton said that hard work in the weight room during the offseason helped bring Roberts’ pitching speed from 75 mph to 80 mph and a little over.

A pitcher like Roberts will be hard to replace, especially at a small school like Vina.

“We won or could have won every game he pitched for us,” Hamilton said.