Photo: Westbrook Christian senior Will Noles signed a baseball scholarship with the University of Alabama-Huntsville on Dec. 8. Pictured, sitting, from left: Noles’ mom Michelle, Noles, Noles’ dad Drew. Standing, from left: Westbrook head baseball coach Matt Kennedy, Noles’ brother Andy. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Will Noles is headed to the Rocket City next year.
The Westbrook Christian senior signed a baseball scholarship with the University of Alabama-Huntsville last Tuesday (Dec. 8).
Noles, who transferred from Etowah prior to his senior year, said the opportunity was a dream come true.
“It’s been my dream since I was five years old,” he said. “Just watching my older brother (Andy) play, I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
UAH went 16-5 in 2020, including a 10-2 mark in the Gulf South Conference. Before COVID-19 cancelled the season in mid-March, UAH was ranked No. 12 in the Collegiate Baseball Division II poll.
“When I saw the campus and the facilities and met the coaches, it just felt like the right fit,” said Noles, who plans to major in science education. “I committed the next day.”
Westbrook head baseball coach Matt Kennedy noted that he could tell what kind of person and player Noles was when Kennedy first saw Noles play when he was an eighth grader.
“I knew when Will moved over from Etowah that he would fit in like family, and that’s what happened. He just has that teammate/friend/family-type personality, and I’m beyond thrilled for him. He’s just a fine young man, and a darn good baseball player on top of that.”
While playing at catcher and third base for the Warriors during the abbreviated 2020 season, Noles finished with a .419 batting average, 13 hits, three doubles, one home run, 14 RBI and a .600 on-base percentage. As a junior at Etowah in 2019, Noles helped the Blue Devils go 26-13 and reach the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
“Will did a good job hitting in the middle of our lineup and provided some of the power we lost from the year before,” said Kennedy. “We’re very fortunate that Will helped fill some voids, especially in the batting order. He’s the quarterback in football and he’s also the quarterback for our baseball team.”
Kennedy envisions Noles having an early impact for the 2021 Chargers.
“Will may be a role player his first year, but I think he’ll have the opportunity to come off the bench and get some timely hits. The main thing is that Will works really hard, which will serve him well in that program.”
Noles will join 2017 Westbrook graduate Tyler Self on the Charger roster. In the shortened 2020 season, Self went 4-1 while posting a rotation-best 2.68 ERA in 37 innings.
“It’s definitely gratifying to see two of my guys not only play at the next level but for a very successful program,” said Kennedy.
Noles was appreciative of how welcome his teammates and the school as a whole made him feel following his transfer.
“I had a whole semester to meet people, and they just took me in like family. It was awesome.”