By Chris McCarthy/ Publisher/Editor
Blake Devine is heading to Decatur for the next two years.
The Southside High senior signed a baseball scholarship with Calhoun Community College on Tuesday (May 13).
As the Panthers’ starting centerfielder this spring, Devine helped team finish with a 34-10 record, have a finals state regular season ranking of No. 4, win the area and county championships and a gain berth in the Class 5A state quarterfinals. In 42 games, Devine posted a .424 batting average along with 64 hits, 47 runs, 23 RBI, nine doubles, five triples, two home runs and 38 steals with only eight strikeouts. He also had a fielding percentage of 0.983.
Devine is the third Southside senior that will play in college. Braxton Light signed with Alabama-Huntsville, while Drew Mullinax signed with Montevallo.
“I’ve always wanted to play at the next level [in baseball],” said Devine, a four-year starter in the outfield. “Even when you get there, you want to get to the next level after that. I’ve been very fortunate to have a pretty good high school career. I was able to stay pretty healthy and I never missed a game. With the football and baseball [seasons], it couldn’t have been a better senior year for me.”
Also a standout in football, Devine last season helped the Panthers go 13-1 with an undefeated regular season, win its first region title in 33 years and make it to the state semifinals for the fist time in school history. Devine rushed for 957 yards and 14 touchdowns from scrimmage, returned seven points for 170 yards and a touchdowns and had 10 kickoff returns for 336 yards and two touchdowns. He was named Offensive Athlete on the 2013 All-Etowah County Schools team and selected to the Class 5A, All-Region 7 first team as a running back.
Calhoun this season is 23-30 and currently competing in the Alabama Community College Conference Tournament. Devine will join Gadsden City High senior Jay Copeland on the Warhawk roster.
“The seniors this year are kind of the guys I started with when I got here seven years ago,” said SHS head baseball coach Blake Bone. “I was coaching Blake in Little League and watching him grow up, so when you lose someone like that, it’s tough. So this is just a stepping stone for Blake, because there’s bigger and brighter things in store for him in the future.
“As a player, Blake’s skills are unmatched. “He’s a five-tool player who can run, hit for power, hit for average and obviously play the outfield. He was out leadoff hitter and set the table for us, so if he didn’t go, we didn’t go. He made great strides offensively this year, and defensively he was so fast and covered so much ground. We really didn’t have to worry about a fly ball landing in either gap, because Blake was going to get to it. He also brought a lot of toughness to the table in never missing a game, even though he had some injuries over the course of his career. Those are the kind if guys you want on your ball club.
“To me, Blake is a D-I baseball player who got overlooked, so I think he’ll contribute right away for Calhoun. Now that he can focus on baseball year-round, his ceiling will be pretty high. If he works hard like he always does and takes care of business, I honestly think he has the chance to be drafted [by Major League Baseball] at some point. He’s that caliber of player.”