• 57°

Prep Signing: East Rowan's Hathcock to Lenoir-Rhyne

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — East Rowan graduate Chase Hathcock smiles and offers a one-word explanation regarding his opportunity to continue his baseball career at Lenoir-Rhyne.
Well, actually it’s a one-name explanation.
“Hightower,” Hathcock said. “Credit Hightower.”
Whether you’re a fan of East coach Brian Hightower or not, give him credit not only for building teams that win games (168 in eight seasons) but for finding schools for his players at the next level.
Not just the great players that everyone wants, but the good ones like Hathcock will usually get a chance to turn all those hours they’ve spent on baseball into a partial payment for a college education.
“If you want to be a player, as hard as we work at it, you’ll get better and you’ll get faster and stronger,” Hightower said. “It’s not like we get all our guys to D-I schools, but we do get a lot of them somewhere.”
At 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, Hathcock is just a normal guy, but he has exceptionally sure hands at second base and a nice, right-handed swing. That was enough for Hightower to get him a look in late April.
“He called the coach at Lenoir-Rhyne (Paul Knight) and they came and watched us play at South Rowan,” Hathcock said. “I happened to get a couple of hits that night, and that’s where it started.”
One of those hits was very nearly an inside-the-park home run. Hathcock drove a ball deep to the opposite field and got credit for a triple, but he was nailed at the plate.
Hathcock did hit one homer over the fence this season — at Staton Field against Nova, Fla., a team that finished 26-2.
Hathcock was a .261 hitter as a junior, but he pushed his batting average up to .337 as a senior and was All-Rowan County and All-NPC.
He hit safely in 20 of East’s 25 games and his 28 hits tied him for the team lead with Nathan Fulbright.
Hathcock’s .337 average, when you consider the switch to BBCOR bats and East’s killer non-conference schedule, wasn’t bad at all, but his defense was even better.
Groundballs to Hathcock were automatic outs — and sometimes two. He was charged with one error during the high school season. He didn’t make an error at Staton Field all spring and he didn’t make a miscue on any field in his last 20 games.
“That’s just from taking an awful lot of groundballs — hundred of ’em,” Hathcock said. “Put in the hard work and you can be a good fielder.”
Hathcock also helped make himself recruitable by handling the classroom as smoothly as a one-hopper. He has a 3.7 GPA. That helped Lenoir-Rhyne find academic scholarship money for him.
This summer Hathcock has been a fixture in the Rowan County American Legion lineup as the second baseman and No. 8 hitter and has performed steadily in both roles.
So there’s a reasonable chance he can help a Lenoir-Rhyne team that struggled in 2012 to a 12-37 record.
“Chase is a decent hitter and a great fielder and he’ll keep growing,” Hightower said. “He’s got an opportunity. I think he’ll run with it.”
Hathcock is excited. He’s one of those guys who stays busy hitting baseballs even when he’s not playing or practicing with the Legion team.
“I love the game, but I understand baseball is going to end someday,” Hathcock said. “I know it probably ends for me with college, but I want to play just as long as I can.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Business

Umami Downtown aims to bring bold flavors to Main Street

Education

RSS Board of Education discusses latest draft of school justice partnership

China Grove

Touting experience, Don Bringle looks to retain seat on China Grove Town Council

Crime

Jury selection begins in trial of man charged with killing father

High School

High school football: Freeman a surprise weapon for Hornets

News

North Carolina’s $25 reward helped boost COVID vaccinations

Education

RSS makes masks optional, plans to revisit decision in November

Elections

Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanly GOP host U.S. Senate forum in Gold Hill for registered Republicans only

Crime

Juvenile shot Saturday expected to make full recovery

Crime

Blotter: Homeless man jailed after throwing rocks through woman’s front door

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan County elections supervisor speaks out after debate to replace him

Crime

Blotter: Kannapolis man charged with involuntary manslaughter

Ask Us

Ask Us: What are current enrollment numbers for Rowan-Salisbury Schools?

News

Airplane makes emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham Airport

News

Race-blind redistricting? Democrats incredulous at GOP maps

Local

‘Stories behind these squares’: Town of Cleveland unveils country’s barn quilt mural, trail

Local

Mayoral candidates Alexander, Heggins discuss ‘Fame,’ protesting, pandemic

Education

Supporters of former Knox assistant principal speak up after resignation

Local

Volunteers focus on South Ellis Street for 11th annual BlockWork program

Education

Accounting firm to present annual school district audit report Monday

Lifestyle

Rowan Rockhounds Composite Youth Mountain Bike Team meetings set

Faith

Faith briefs: Barbecue fundraiser, harvest festival set for Nov. 6

Business

A hidden gem on Highway 29, Fusion Salon celebrates more than 15 years in business

Education

Walser honored by Smart Start Rowan