Kyle Jamar and Brian Strahan were the aces on the Richmond Hill High School pitching staff this season, helping the Wildcats win their first region title in the program’s history.
It has paid off for both hurlers.
Strahan will pitch at Piedmont (Ga.) College, which he is attending on an academic scholarship. Jamar is bound for the University of West Georgia.
"Obviously we’re extremely proud of them," said RHHS coach Stacy Bennett, himself a former college and minor-league player. "As young athletes you sit around and talk about it, pitching at the next level, but there’s a huge difference between talking about it and doing it."
Jamar, who plans on studying accounting, said he expects to be used as a reliever but hopes to eventually work his way into the starting lineup for the Wolves, an NCAA Division 2 program that competes in the Gulf South Conference. Strahan said he was asked whether he preferred starting or coming out of the bullpen for the NCAA Division 3 school, a member of the USA South Conference.
"I said it really doesn’t matter," Strahan said. "I’ll just try to contribute as much as I can."
The two were voted captains by their teammates, and both said being part of the program’s first region title team was something they won’t soon forget. The Wildcats finished 14-14 this season after going 12-2 in Region 3-AAAAA and earning a No. 1 seed in the state Class AAAAA playoffs.
"It’s really special," Jamar said. "I feel like it laid down the foundation that’s going to continue to grow."
Both players thanked family, coaches, teammates, classmates and friends for their support during the ceremony. And Bennett said both Strahan and Jamar earned the opportunity to continue their playing careers.
"They’re extremely hard workers and very high character guys," he said. "With those two things, whether it’s baseball or business or family, whatever they do they’re going to be very successful."
They also left a legacy Bennett hopes younger players try to follow.
"They went out and won games for us," he said. "They battled for us, and that’s all we can ask as coaches."