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Four Bulldogs taking baseball careers to next level

  • Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chris Sokoloski/South Strand News Signing their college scholarships on Monday morning are, from left, Georgetown High baseball players Kevin “Woody” Woodall Jr., Seth Wall, Cody Thompson and Ryan Holcombe. Looking on are, from left, coach Jason West, Alicia Johnson and coach Ben Waddle.

Four Georgetown High School baseball players signed college scholarships on Monday morning.

Ryan Holcombe will play at the University of South Carolina – Sumter; Cody Thompson will play at the University of South Carolina – Salkehatchie; Seth Wall with play at Spartanburg Methodist College; and Kevin “Woody” Woodall Jr. will play at Coastal Carolina University.

The four young men were part of a nine-member senior class who, after winning 10 games their junior season, led the Bulldogs to 18 wins this year and the team’s first playoff win since 2008.

The seniors will be hard to replace said first-year head coach Ben Waddle.

“They really bought into that concept, and that’s one thing that we’ve built on here: the history, the positive history of Georgetown [baseball]. These guys have been through it.”

Playing for USC – Sumter is the realization of a lifelong dream for Holcombe.

“It’s always been my dream to go play college baseball,” he said. “I’m starting a new chapter in my life.”

Holcombe verbally committed early to the Fire Ants.

“They had a good program … [it’s] a good place for me to start at,” he said.

Holcombe wants to study criminal justice, with an eye on becoming a game warden.

Thompson liked the “feel” of USC –Salkehatchie.

“It’s a small place,” he said. “That’s kind of where I like. It reminds me of where I grew up. So I figured it would be a good place for me to go.”

Thompson transferred to Georgetown High three years ago.

“He has done a tremendous job for us the past two years,” Waddle said. “He developed into a pitcher last year. This year he was our No. 1 guy. … He’s going to have a chance to go in immediately and pitch.”

Thompson plans to study nursing.

Wall is looking forward to playing for coach Tim Wallace, a fellow catcher, at Spartanburg Methodist. Wallace was drafted out of Wofford College and advanced all the way to Triple A before becoming a coach.

“[He] is an excellent coach and I feel like he can get me to where I want to be,” Wall said. “Hopefully I can get to Triple A and above with his help and his guidance.”

“[It’s a] great program. … The talent level there is amazing,” Waddle said. “Coming out of Spartanburg Methodist, usually if you play every day for those guys you’re going [Division 1] or you’re going pro.”

Wall wants to study either history, with an eye toward a teaching career, or business.

Woodall was going to sign with Florence-Darlington Tech, a junior college, but got an offer from Coastal Carolina on Sunday night.

“It means a lot,” Woodall said. “I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time, to be signing with my teammates and continuing on and having a good career.”

“Coastal came in and liked his development over the season,” Waddle said. “I think Woody is going to be good. He’s got something called a ‘high ceiling,’ which means his development is going to be there.”

Woodall plans to study business.

All four seniors said their younger teammates who have aspirations of playing in college need to work harder in the classroom than on the field.

“Keep working hard,” said Holcombe.

“If you don’t have the grades in the classroom then you can’t play,” said Thompson. “You’ve got to get it in the classroom first.”

They are all proud of what they accomplished in their senior season, and the legacy they have left.

“Going from winning 10 games my junior year to going all the way to winning 18 games was a huge step in the right direction,” Wall said. “Coach Waddle, with all he’s done, he’s definitely going to take the team far in the future.”

“We really came together and played good as a team, how I expected we would,” Woodall said. “We really turned it around as a team from the year before.”

“I think we did really good as a team coming from 10 wins and going to 18, it’s a good step. I think we left it better than we found it,” Thompson said. “If they listen to coach Waddle they’ll go far. If they buy in they’ll go far. If they don’t, good luck to them.”

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