Thursday, December 19, 2013
Bryson Conner has his baseball future set, now he’s focusing on bringing a title to North Augusta.
Conner, a senior shortstop, signed to play baseball at Coker College, a decision he made because of the relationship he developed with the coaching staff.
“I think a big factor in my decision to go to Coker was how interactive the coach was,” he said. “I went up for a camp, which is how they started recruiting me, and he sat down with all the players and parents and talked about how the player-coach relationship is one of the most important things in college. That really impressed my mom and dad. They invited me back up for a visit and I loved the campus. They have a great coach (Dave Schmotzer); he won regional coach of the year last year, which is helpful. They also have the major I want to major in, health science.”
The Cobras made a run a season ago, advancing to the NCAA Division II National Championship. Conner is hoping to come in as a freshman and help create another long playoff run for Coker.
“They haven’t specifically said that I will start from day one, but they told me I will come in as a freshman and make a difference on the team,” Conner said. “Eventually, I want to be an everyday starter for the team, and winning a national championship would be a plus for me.”
Assistant Coach Vic Radcliff said Conner has grown into a leader for North Augusta.
“He’s been a good, solid infielder for us for two years, this year will be his senior year,” he said. “I’m happy that he’s going to go to college and has the ability to play after high school. This year is a big year for him, as a leader, he’s been a big part of our defense and adds a lot to our offense.”
The leadoff position of the batting order has been a goal for Conner, according to Radcliff.
“He has worked hard, hopefully he can fit himself into the leadoff position,” Radcliff said. “He’s wanted to be a leadoff batter and I told him that he had to work hard at it. He knows what it takes to be a leadoff batter and I’ve seen him put the work in. He’s got the desire to hit in the leadoff position, so hopefully it works out for him.”
Radcliff said Conner came in as a sophomore and impressed the coaches, making an impact on the defense.
“Three years ago we lost a senior shortstop who started for two years and we were wondering who would fill that spot,” he said. “Bryson was going into his sophomore year and we thought it was a lot to ask for him to play a varsity spot, but he held it down.”
Conner said his goal for this season is “to win a state championship.”
“I want to win a state championship this year,” he said. “I don’t want to leave without a ring.”
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for The Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.
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