The Valdosta Daily Times
Lowndes’ Ty Harwell and David Wortham won’t have to go far to play college baseball. Both seniors signed with Valdosta State Friday afternoon, inside a weight room crowded with teammates, parents and family friends.
While both players signed with the Blazers, who are currently competing in the NCAA South Region Tournament in Tampa, Fla., they have been committed to the school for their entire senior seasons, which ended Wednesday with a 5-2 loss to Roswell in the state quarterfinals.
“It is exciting,” Wortham said. “I never thought with my size that I would be able to accomplish something like playing college baseball. It makes me, my father and my mother very, very proud....I would have not been able to play at VSU if it wasn’t without the support of my family.”
Wortham, who played third baseball, shortstop and second during his career with the Vikings, is just 5-foot-7 but earned his offer from Valdosta State because of his ability to get on base and score, along with defensive effort.
“With these new bats, the market for guys like me has definitely improved,” said Wortham, who finished his senior season with a .347 average and a .421 on-base percentage. “Now, I have a chance to play.”
Harwell, an outfielder who hit a home run in his final high school at-bat, will join the Blazers after hitting .236 with an on-base percentage of .411 his senior season.
“I will do whatever it takes to get on base,” said Harwell, who plans on majoring in business administration at VSU.
Both Wortham and Harwell say they are excited to play for coaches Greg and Todd Guilliams, considered two of the better hitting coaches in the country.
“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to play for those two coaches,” Wortham said.
“I am very, very blessed to do that.”
Added Harwell: “It is going to be great. I am going to learn a lot from them. They know a lot about baseball.”
Signing with VSU, both players will have the opportunity to play in front of their parents and friends at Billy Grant Field, which sits less than five miles from Lowndes’ Noel George Field.
“My parents get to come, my friends get to come,” Harwell said. “It is pretty good.”
When asked to look back at their high school careers, both players credited their high school coaches and what they learned as Vikings.
“It was a great learning experience,” Harwell said. “They taught me how to be a leader, to be vocal.”
Added Wortham: “It was very nerve-racking, but very beneficial. These coaches taught me a lot about baseball, but a lot about life, in general — how to be a man and not take things for granted.
“We are not a very big team; we don’t have a lot of big Division I signees, but we worked well as a team and we all have very good chemistry. We had nine leaders out there.”
Wortham and Harwell will join a program in Valdosta State has won two of the last four Gulf South Conference championships, including this season.