Three Newton High School baseball players inked their National Letters of Intent in a ceremony in front of a hundred teammates, family and friends Wednesday morning, pledging to continue their playing careers next season on the collegiate level.
The Rams’ Allen Bowen, Daniel Croom and Kenneth Glover signed with Reinhardt University, Tuskegee University and Savanah State University, respectively, capping off a week that saw Newton clinch its first Region 2-AAAAAA baseball title.
Newton coach Andre Byrd said that having the Rams’ three players sign was a “great experience” for the program and he knows they will continue to succeed at their respective universities next season.
“It’s an emotional day for me seeing these guys having the opportunity to move on to the next level,” Byrd said. “I had to stop myself from shedding a few tears once or twice. It’s a big deal for those guys and their families. You work hard so you have the opportunity to play in college and have part of your education paid for. They get to further their education while playing a game that they love.”
Bowen, who inked his National Letter of Intent with Reinhardt University, led the Rams in batting average in players that have at least 25 at-bats this season. Bowen’s .390 average includes 23 base hits, 17 RBIs 10 doubles and a pair of home runs.
As a four-year varsity player, Bowen has also been steady on the mound, picking up a pair of wins on the hill this season and three saves. Bowen has totaled 19 strikeouts in 17-2/3 innings pitched.
“I had three colleges to choose from and Reinhardt stood out the most to me,” Bowen said. “I really liked the atmosphere there and the entire program just had a friendly feeling. Their program is really solid and I’m excited to be joining it.”
The Reinhardt Eagles are currently 28-21 this season with a 13-8 mark in the Appalachian Athletic Conference.
Croom, who picked up a win last Friday on the mound against Druid Hills, will join the Tuskegee University baseball team next season.
The senior leads the Rams with four wins on the mound, pitching a team-high 29-1/3 innings this season. Croom has tallied a 3.34 earned run average this season while striking out 22 batters in 2014.
Croom is also hitting .321 with 17 hits, 10 runs scored, seven RBIs and a triple.
“It feels great to be able to sign today and continue my career next season,” Croom said. “I thank God for this experience. It’s been a great experience. Tuskegee has great facilities, they play in a Minor League stadium and I feel like they’ll be able to help me keep playing after college.”
The Tuskegee Golden Tigers are 18-21 this season with a 12-10 mark in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Glover rounded out the Rams’ Wednesday signees, making his pledge to Savannah State University.
Glover has been a terror on the mound and at the plate since joining the Newton program during his junior year, hitting .359 while registering a 3.5 ERA.
Glover has recorded 14 hits, five runs, five RBIs and a double at the dish.
“It’s a good feeling signing today,” Glover said. “I want to eventually play in the MLB, but we also want to focus on my education. Savannah State had a great atmosphere and I feel that they’ll be the best fit for me next season.”
The Savannah State Tigers are currently 13-24 overall with a 4-11 record in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
The Newton Baseball team returns to action Friday on the road at Morrow.