Richmond Hill baseball’s 2007 most valuable player nearly gave up on playing post high school ball. He had been turned down by Georgia Southern’s coaches and didn’t think it was in the cards.
Thanks to a chance to play in a southeast showcase tournament for the Dugout Club that head coach Mitchell Curry helped him get in to, and Matt Schlag’s good showing from the mound, his future has been turned around and he will be playing for North Georgia College and State University.
Scott Strickland, the Wildcat MVP from last season has been signed to play at Augusta State University since last year and will become a competitor of Schlag’s as they both will play in the Peachbelt conference. Coincidently Bryan County’s Wesley Wilkes has now signed with Armstrong Atlantic, another Peachbelt school, and now a fourth 2007 baseball stand out will join the college ranks too.
Cameron Corbin has recently committed to Reinhardt College in the foothills of Northwest Georgia. Reinhardt is a NAIA school that participates in the Southern States Athletic Conference. The Conference is made up of Auburn University (Montgomery), Berry College, Brewton Parker, Emmanuel College, Faulkner State, Lee University, Shorter College, Southern Polytechnic University, and Southern Wesleyan.
Cameron’s Parents, Chris and Lee Ann Corbin will now join the ranks of the other parents leaving tire tread throughout the Southeast highways next season. Aside from being impressed by the school’s facilities and the coaching staff, one of Corbin’s reasons for selecting Reinhardt over a couple of other schools was to stay as close to home as possible. Reinhardt, located in Waleska, Georgia is just a half hours drive North of Atlanta.
Corbin will start workouts this fall with the team and will be vying for a middle infield position although he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of continuing his pitching career.
"I am going to continue working to strengthen my arm" said Corbin, just in case. Cameron was the number three man on a staff with two pretty good pitchers and would have been a regular starter on a lot of teams the Wildcats played. The Richmond Hill stand-out felt like his second half surge statistically helped him to sell his wares to Reinhardt head coach Bill Popp and keep his hopes of playing college ball alive.For Schlag it was just one chance meeting that did the trick. After impressing both the head coach, Tom Cantrell and his assistant, it only took a visit to the Georgia Mountain region in Dahlonega for Matt and his parents, Mark and Sarah Schlag to be impressed..
"The way the whole athletic complex, and the school are nestled in to the mountains is just beautiful" remarked Mark Schlag at a recent signing ceremony at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s. Matt’s mother Sarah remarked on how her son’s finding an institution that he both liked and will be playing baseball for was the best Father’s Day gift her husband had ever received.
"This is a great opportunity for me, the school, the housing, the coaches - everything has been great" remarked Schlag on his new school choice. And when asked about the opportunity to play against his former teammate, Scott Strickland in the Peachbelt conference Schlag kept it all in perspective.
"It would be really cool to match up sometime with Strickland but I’ve got to worry about securing my spot on the roster before anything else" said Schlag who will join the teams pitching staff but is not sure if he will be a starter or have a role in the bullpen.
While it is a major source of pride for Schlag’s, Strickland’s and Corbin’s parents, their school and their coaches, head coach Mitchell Curry had some words of encouragement to pass on to all three of his first graduating class that had been with him since they were freshmen.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and they need to treat it as such. They need to give this their best shot because it is a time in their lives that they will always look back on and cherish later."
Curry also stated the importance to Richmond Hill High School and the baseball program to be able to see its graduates move on to play baseball at the next level.
"It is very important for people to see the benefits of hard work in a successful organization both to inspire those already here and attract quality athletes that might be considering Richmond Hill."
For video of Schlag signing his letter of intent, go to www.bryancountynews.net.