Photo: Gadsden City High School seniors Kyle and Cory Cline signed baseball scholarships with Lawson State Community College on May 19. Pictured, sitting, from left: dad David Cline, Corey, Kyle, mom Ashley Marshall. Standing, from left: GCHS head baseball coach Scott Brackett, sister Bailey Marshall. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Kyle and Cory Cline will extend their academic and athletic careers at least two more years.
The Gadsden City High School seniors and twin brothers signed baseball scholarships with Lawson State Community College in Birmingham on May 19.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play at the next level,” said Kyle, who plans on majoring in secondary education. “I’ve worked very hard for this and a lot of people have helped me along the way.”
Kyle noted that then-Lawson State head baseball coach Blake Lewis reached out to GCHS baseball coach Scott Brackett midway through the 2022 season and told him that the twins were on Lewis’ radar. Gadsden State recently hired Lewis as the college’s athletic director and head baseball coach.
“We went downed there and trained and tried out, and [Lewis] offered us [a scholarship],” said Kyle. “They were very welcoming, and I really liked the facilities.”
Playing shortstop and second base this season, Kyle finished with 45 hits, 35 runs, 22 RBI, eight doubles and 11 steals. He batted .425 with an on-base percentage of .534, a slugging percentage of .547 and a fielding percentage of 0.925.
“This is everything I’ve always wanted,” said Corey, who plans on studying electrical engineering. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play college ball, and now I have that opportunity. It’s a great feeling.”
In 30 games at shortstop/second base this season, Corey batted .421 along with 40 hits, 31 runs, 20 RBI, 10 doubles, two triples and 10 steals. He had an on-base percentage of .495, a slugging percentage of .568 and a fielding percentage of 0.93.
This past season, Lawson State went 29-27-1 overall and 17-15 in Alabama Community College Conference action.
In addition to superior talent, Bracket pointed out that the Clines provided several intangibles that did not show up in the scorebook.
“They brought toughness, grit, passion, energy and unbelievable competitiveness. No matter if we were practicing hitting, taking ground balls or in the weight room, those two guys put in the work. They pushed each other to the extreme, and that’s why they’re so good. They also took the bull by the horns and provided good leadership to our younger kids.”
Brackett noted that the twins held their own in what was arguably the toughest area in the state in Class 7A Area 6, which included state runner-up Hewitt-Trussville, state semifinalist Vestavia Hills and Spain Park. The Titans wound up beating every area team except Hewitt-Trussville.
Brackett believed the defining moment of the season occurred in the second game of the Titans’ area play against Vestavia Hills, when Kyle Cline led off the game with home run and closed out the game as a relief pitcher in a 1-0 victory.
“Those were the games we had to learn how to win, in holding off a very good team for seven innings. We also played a lot of really good competition out of the area, including a couple of the top teams in Georgia. In 99.9 percent of the season, we competed in every ball game. That’s all I can ask our guys to do, which is to give us a chance in every game.”