• 55°

Prep Baseball: North's Laurens headed to Catawba

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
SPENCER — The announcement that North Rowan senior Matt Laurens would become part of Catawba’s baseball program didn’t strike fear into the hearts of pitchers around the SAC, but there’s a chance they’ll know who Laurens is before he leaves.
Laurens is a diamond-in-the-rough, a late-bloomer with an abundance of physical skills and a willingness to push himself to get better. He isn’t a household name yet, but he soon could be.
Catawba isn’t sure yet if Laurens will be a lefty-hitting outfielder or a right-handed pitcher — or both.
Laurens isn’t sure yet either. He’s beginning to experience considerable success as both a hurler and a hitter, so some decisions will have to be made in the future.
“My position is something the coaches will figure out once I get there,” Laurens said. “I’ll be fine with what they decide.”
Laurens launched two home runs to right-center on Saturday and went 5-for-6 to push his batting average from .271 to .333. He drove in six runs as North won 12-10 against Central Cabarrus. He actually had as many RBIs in that game as he had his entire sophomore season, which gives you an idea how far he’s come.
Needed on a struggling varsity team (5-16) as a sophomore, Laurens batted .222 with one extra-base hit in 54 at-bats. He was 0-3 on the mound with an ERA that looked like a shoe size.
He was better as a junior, batting .260 with 13 RBIs. His ERA was still too high — 6.68 — but he won two games and his 41 strikeouts in 362/3 innings demonstrated serious potential.
As a senior, besides leading the Cavaliers in homers, he’s knocked in 19 runs. He’s also 3-1 on the mound with a 3.92 ERA and has dramatically decreased his walks from previous seasons.
“Mostly, it’s having some confidence,” Laurens said. “I feel relaxed, and when I’m hitting, I’m seeing the ball better.”
All his stats are moving in the right direction, and North coach Aaron Rimer is glad to see Laurens moving in the direction of Catawba.
Rimer, who finished up with the Indians in 2006, hit 25 homers and drove in 106 runs his last two years at Newman Park. He was a productive left-handed bat on a mostly right-handed team.
Catawba actually had four ex-North players in that era, with Jimbo Davis, Bubba Morris and Kevin McMillan joining Rimer. All were key players.
“I’ll always be happy to see one of our good ones go to Catawba,” Rimer said. “To be honest, Matt’s got some tools that I never had. He’s off the charts as far as athletic ability. Pitcher or outfielder, I don’t know, but he could be either. You can’t teach height (Laurens is a good 6-foot-2), you can’t teach speed, and you can’t teach arm strength, and Matt’s got all three.”
Laurens has a comfort zone at Catawba. His father works at the school, and Laurens is very familiar with assistant coach Michael Lowman and head coach Jim Gantt.
“I go back to the eighth grade and Junior Legion with Lowman, and I got to play with Rowan County some, so I know Coach Gantt,” said Laurens, who also has played lots of showcase ball with the Huntersville-based Copperheads.
Gantt and Lowman saw the strides Laurens was making last fall, and the Indians decided they wanted him.
“I did do pretty well in the fall,” Laurens modestly admitted.
Catawba may have landed another Rimer, but only time will tell about that.
“He’s a left-handed stick, and everybody needs those,” Rimer said. “Matt’s already pretty good, but I can see him developing into something really special. He has a chance to be one heck of a player.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges

Local

Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting

Local

Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest

News

N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured

Education

Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12

Local

Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September

Lifestyle

Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers

Education

Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners

Business

Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs