PREP BASEBALL: West Point’s Folds signs with LaGrange College

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West Point’s Eli Folds is joined by his father, Kevin Folds, his mother, Misty Folds and Coaches Drew Bryson and Tyler Morgan at his signing ceremony Thursday. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

WEST POINT, Ala. – Thursday was a special day at West Point High School as friends, family, teachers, coaches, teammates and more packed themselves into the library to celebrate the next step in a fellow Warrior’s athletic and academic. West Point baseball standout Eli Folds committed to play for LaGrange College earlier this month and officially signed his letter of intent to play for the Panthers Thursday morning. Folds will spend most of his time on the mound at LaGrange and Warriors Head Coach Drew Bryson is confident that he’ll slide right into the rotation. Bryson has watched Folds develop since his freshman season and grow from someone who can eat a few innings to the ace on staff.

“He came on the scene as a freshman, and it was really because we just needed someone to come up and get some things done for us on the infield. He was great stepping up there for us and going into that summer we knew we needed to find some guys that could pitch,” Bryson said. “We threw him out there at a summer camp down at UAB and he looked really good, and I thought, ‘We need to run with this’. We wanted to develop him and really spend some time with him on the mound. Then he goes out there his sophomore year kind of slotted into that closer role and was really, really good. Then of course his junior year he came back and was just phenomenal for us. When Aubry (Cleghorn) went down he really stepped up as our ace on the staff and this year throughout the fall he’s looked really good. We expect big things from him this year.”

Folds has obviously developed the physical talent to play at the next level but what sets him apart from most high school athletes in Bryson’s mind is his coachability.

“He is so coachable. That doesn’t mean he’s perfect or does everything right, but he gives great effort every single day. You can chew him, or you can pat him on the back it doesn’t matter. He’s unphased by that stuff and he’s a tough kid. When you’ve got a guy that’s a hard worker, coachable and tough, you’ve got something special,” Bryson said. “He’s going to be back there in the leadoff spot for us this year and we expect a lot of good things from him in that spot as well.”

Eli got to know LaGrange and the coaches there over the course of a couple visits and he’s looking forward to using their new facilities but he’s also excited to join a program that has been winning at a high level.

“They were actually my first official visit. When I went there, they told me they were getting new facilities. When I first went there for a camp, they had a couple small things I didn’t like but when I showed up for my official visit, Coach starting show me all this new stuff that they had brought in and were fixing up for the season,” Folds said. “The facilities were really nice and when I had my talk with the coaches in the locker room, they were all just upbeat coaches and very excited about the year. They really gave me what I wanted which was a chance to go work for a spot and start as a freshman. They’re very confident in the team, I think they’ve won the conference four years in a row now so I’m excited.”

Folds has grown a great deal as a player over the last few years and has put in the work to earn this opportunity but more than anything else he credits his coaches for helping both him and his teammates become the best players they can be.

“Coach Bryson and Coach (Tyler) Morgan have put it on us to always work our hardest and you’ll end up in good places. That’s why we’ve had eight guys sign over the last few years. I’m glad that we’ve got those coaches to help us get there.”

Eli’s senior campaign at West Point will get underway Friday when the Warriors travel to take on Deshler in their season opener.

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