Collins in high profile baseball outings

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 19, 2013

MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan senior Nick Collins plays two sports at an all-county level, so he’s got options when it comes to his college choice.
“He’s done a great job of being totally committed to football and baseball year-round,” West football coach Scott Young said. “There have been days where he’s gone to take swings or take groundballs with the baseball team after football practice. There have been days when he’s gone to 7-on-7s with us during baseball season.”
While Collins, who is 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, just finished a tremendous football season as an All-South Piedmont and All-Rowan County linebacker, baseball might be nudging ahead of the gridiron when it comes to his future. Collins has been selected to play in two upcoming high-profile baseball events, including a preseason All-America tournament in Arizona.
“I love both sports the same,” Collins said. “Baseball has the advantage of being a lot less stress on the body, but I’m not closing any doors for football. It just depends on how good a scholarship I can get in either sport.”
Collins was an all-county standout for a 17-9 West baseball team last spring as a multi-position player. He was best in the outfield and made a memorable catch in the Easter Tournament at CMC-NorthEast Stadium. He batted .358 with some power. He also pitched some. He won twice and saved three games.
“Nick was the quintessential team guy and filled whatever need we had,” West baseball coach Chad Parker said. “He brought a couple of different gloves to the park every game with never a complaint.”
Because he lives closer to Davie County High than Salisbury High, Collins plays for the Mocksville American Legion team in the summer.
Collins says he’s listed as an infielder/outfielder for the upcoming all-star games.
The first is the Baseball Factory Christmas Camp & Tournament in Bradenton, Fla. from Dec. 27-30. That tournament will be held at “Pirate City” where Pittsburgh conducts Spring Training. The Collins family will leave for the sunshine on the 26th, the day after Christmas.
The really big event is the Under Armour All-America Preseason Tournament that will be held Jan. 17-19 in Tucson. About 400 players from all over the country will in Arizona, including many of the nation’s best. Collins is one of 11 North Carolina players invited. Most are from the Charlotte area.
“I went to an Under Armour showcase camp at Limestone (where Collins’ former football teammate Logan Stoodley is enrolled), and that’s where they saw me,” Collins said. “I got a letter from them last month saying I’d been picked to play in the All-America game.”
Collins will make his first plane flight to that event, which will be held at the Kino Sports Complex, a facility that the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox have used for Spring Training. The players will be divided into 28 teams, based on the region they represent.
Baseball America covers the event, and pro scouts will attend.
“Nick is one of those kids that’s put in the time and the work, so it’s good to see him being rewarded for his labors,” Parker said. “It’s been interesting to watch him develop as an athlete. He made a tremendous jump from his sophomore to his junior year and he’s still got a lot of growth left.”
West will have only four seniors this spring, but the Falcons should have another competitive team with a foundation of Collins and pitchers Michael Ball and Omar Bautista.
Parker will be counting on Collins for a great baseball season, and Young will be pulling for him.
“A lot of people want kids to specialize and play one sport, but I say let the kids be kids,” Young said. “Here’s a kid that has always played two sports and he could be a college athlete in either one of them.”