Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meigs County students combine books and bats as members of OU-C baseball team


Titus Pierce (left) and Kyle Cunningham, both from Meigs County,
are enjoying the student-athlete experience at OU-C.
Two student-athletes from Meigs County are safe at home, playing for the Ohio University-Chillicothe baseball team.

Titus Pierce and Kyle Cunningham are key members of the Hilltopper baseball team and are enjoying the college experience while sharing an apartment near the Chillicothe Campus.

The players have known each other since they were youngsters, playing together on T-ball and youth baseball teams until they went their separate ways in junior high school.

“Knowing each other made the transition easier. It is kind of a relief to not have to go into the situation blind,” said Cunningham, a freshman pitcher and leftfielder from Southern High School.

The Chillicothe Campus has been a good fit for the players, especially in terms of balancing academics and athletics.

“Everything is good. I love baseball. It keeps me busy, and I am able to balance it with my classes. In fact, it gives me something to work hard for and definitely keeps me organized. Plus, it’s not too far from home,” said Pierce, a pitcher/centerfielder from Eastern High School who is majoring in psychology. “The level of competition is good and it gives us a chance to play against players from outside of our area.”

Cunningham comments that Chillicothe’s reputation, as a community and baseball-loving area, influenced his decision. “I love it here, both the campus and the town,” Cunningham said. “Before attending OU-C, I always heard about this area and that it’s a great place for high school baseball.”

Next year it is expected that they will be joined on the diamond by fellow OU-C student and Meigs County resident Jordan Taylor, who is the impetus behind the Pomeroy connection.

“He (Taylor) is the reason we are here,” said Cunningham. “Jordan knew the coach’s (Bruce Blackburn) son and was visiting him this summer when he decided to play for OU-C. Coach Blackburn asked Jordan if he knew of any more players from the area. Jordan then contacted Titus and me, and we decided to join him.”

“We are fortunate to have these guys as part of our team,” Blackburn said. “Each one possesses the necessary baseball skill set to not only participate at this level, but to excel. Looking beyond their baseball talents, these are good people, and their core values are an asset to our program and OU-C.”

“As one might imagine, putting together a team, with players from different backgrounds and cultures can be a difficult task. These guys came in here and right away became team members and teammates,” Blackburn added. “These three guys grew up together and have played on the same teams for a large portion of their lives. The relationship they have built over a lifetime is evident in the way they go about their business and the other guys on the team have just taken to it, and become part of it.”

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