By Chris McCarthy/ Publisher/Editor
A Blue Devil is headed for Parson country.
Etowah High School senior Colby Dunn signed a baseball scholarship with Snead State Community College on Feb. 22.
A pitcher/first baseman, Dunn said that the SSCC coaching staff saw him pitch against Fort Payne last spring and was sufficiently impressed to invite Dunn to compete in the college’s fall league.
Dunn also worked with Snead pitching coach Jerry Hallmark for the past two years.
“Snead’s got a good baseball program, and I thought that it would be the best place for me,” said Dunn, who is considering studying civil engineering. “They took me on a tour of the campus (in Boaz), and it was really nice.”
The Parsons went 22-28 last season and finished third in the Alabama Community College Conference North Division with a 14-18 mark.
Dunn said he’s looking forward to playing for Larry Foster, who was named the school’s head baseball coach in May. As head coach at Etowah from 1981 to 2004, Foster guided the Blue Devils to a 520-209 record while winning state championships in 1985, 1987 and 1996. Etowah qualified for the state playoffs 18 times under Foster. He was inducted to the Etowah County Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
“He’s one of the best coaches around, and he expects 100 percent, all of the time,” said Dunn. “He knows so much about baseball, and he’s taught me more this year that I’ve ever learned before.”
“Colby’s a good all-around athlete who’s got all the tools that you need to play baseball,” said SSCC head baseball coach Gerry Ledbetter. “I think he’ll help us as a pitcher as well as in the outfield. The fall league gave us the opportunity to see him play about 10 or 12 times.
“At Snead, we emphasize recruiting good kids who make good grades and who can play baseball, and Colby falls into that type of kid. We’re trying to recruit as many good local kids and we can, and we’re excited to have this young man (Dunn) with us.”
The 2012 Blue Devils finished second in the area behind Southside and made Class 5A state playoffs.
“Number one, Colby’s an excellent kid and a good Christian young man,” said Foster. “That right there will make him a better ballplayer. As far as on the mound, he’s got the skills and talent to play at the junior college level. We have about three or four pitchers who we expect to go out and win, and Colby’s one of those guys. He’s bought into our system and the ways that we do things.”
Foster pointed out that his coaching philosophy has not changed since he was last in charge of the program nine years ago.
“If we can outwork people, we’ll win our share of ballgames. The only thing I brought to this program is making these kids understand that if you work hard, do the things you’re supposed to do and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played, it will translate into wins.
“One of the things that I don’t think these kids really understood was how much mental and physical things are involved in order to win in competitive athletics. But they’re learning.”
Dunn and his fellow seniors set their sights high in terms of goals for the upcoming season.
“We want to win a state championship. We have the leaders and we’re going to work hard, so that’s what we want to do.”