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Blake Hughes signs to play college baseball for South Georgia State College
Blake Hughes Signing
Hughes (middle) signed his national letter of intent to play baseball in Eastside's auditorium on Friday, May 17. - photo by Garrett Pitts

Eastside senior Blake Hughes signed his national letter of intent (NLI) Friday, May 17 to play baseball at South Georgia State College.

Hughes signed his NLI inside of the eagles’ auditorium inn front of teammates, friends, coaches and family.

Though there were nerves, the thought of playing college baseball made it worth it for Hughes.

“[I was] a little nervous when I woke up, having to come up here and talk in front of everybody,” Hughes said. “With the excitement of being able to commit to further my baseball career — it is something I won’t forget. Seeing everybody, the nerves kind of calmed down.”

After visiting the campus, many factors led to Hughes ultimately signing to play for the Hawks.

“I really like the program,” Hughes said. “I went down there [and] saw the facility, saw what they offered and I liked it. It is cheap, too, with college being so expensive. Me being able to play my first two years versus a four year [school] where I wouldn’t be able to play my first two years really set the tone for me.”

As for his position, Hughes sees himself as a potential two-way player in college.

“Mainly pitcher, because that is where I shined this season,” Hughes said. “But, definitely first base [too]. When they give the shot I will definitely take the opportunity.”

Seeing his work come to fruition at the start of his senior year was when Hughes began to seriously think about playing college baseball.

“[It was] the start of my senior year, to be completely honest,” Hughes said. “I saw the hard work I have been putting in to start to come out [and] the talent started to shine. I thought, ‘I have a shot at this, I better take this opportunity and go to the next level.’”

The work paid off for Hughes, who had a career-best year in 2024.

As a senior, Hughes batted .406 and tallied 39 hits and 16 runs batted in. On the mound, he led the team with 53 innings pitched and an earned run average of 1.18.

Hughes’ favorite moment as an Eagle came in their most recent playoff trip, where Hughes threw a complete game victory over No. 1 seed Villa Rica.

“When I pitched the first Villa Rica game, I shut them out. That was amazing for me and that game felt the best for me pitching[-wise],” Hughes said.

With it now being official, Hughes shared what excites him the most about going to the next level.

“Just furthering my career,” Hughes said. “I love the game, I love everything about the game and just being able to furth that is [better than] anything I could ask for.”