Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 13, 2013
CHINA GROVE — Greg Tonnesen had a good football season as a junior at Carson and thought that would be his ticket to college.
But a year later, he realized his potential was as a baseball player.
So does Campbell University coach Greg Goff, who is giving Tonnesen a chance to join a Camel program on the rise.
Cambell set a school mark of 49-10 in the spring and had a national ranking. Goff is 90-28 over the last two seasons and he recently received a long contract extension.
“I took a visit and really liked the campus,” Tonnesen said. “I went to camp there last year. They’re doing really well.”
Tonnesen, an outfielder for Carson coach Chris Cauble, picked the Camels over Gardner-Webb.
“We had been calling around,” Cauble said. “We told Greg to apply to the places he’d like to go and we’d talk to the baseball coaches.”
The Campbell brass came to watch Tonnesen against South Rowan in the North Piedmont Conference tournament and he had a solid game.
“(Goff) said he’d love for Greg to come as a preferred walk-on,” Cauble said. “He thought if he worked hard, he could maybe contribute early.”
So what kind of player is Campbell getting?
“He’s a left-handed stick, which are liked by college people,” Cauble said.
A 6-foot-2 right-fielder, Tonnesen will bring good defense as well.
“Greg’s not the fastest of our outfielders but he made the same plays because he gets such a good jump on the ball,” Cauble said. “That’s really something you can’t teach. That’s one of those God-given talents. He made a ton of big catches for us this year. And he has an above-average arm.”
And that football thing?
I had a pretty good season as a junior,” said Tonnesen, a tight end. “But I had a better baseball season and decided to go down that path.”
He hit .364 as a junior and batted .260 as a senior with 10 RBIs and four doubles, although not a permanent starter on a talented 24-4 Carson squad.
“This year was different with all the depth and it turned into more about the team than me,” Tonnesen said.
That statement says even more about the recruit Goff is getting.
“Greg has always been a class act,” Cauble said. “His character is top-notch and that will take him far in life.”
But first, it’s going to take Tonnesen to Buies Creek to play for one of the state’s best college baseball programs.
“It feels great,” Tonnesen said. “It’s been a long time coming. It’s awesome than I’m finally there.”