The difference between good high school players and the ones that get a chance to play at the college level often comes down to hard work.
Union Pines baseball seniors Micah Monaghan, Chance Purvis and Finley Spicer are no strangers to working hard outside of the normal practice and workouts.
“It was just work, and a lot of times my work was with these two,” Purvis said. “We always worked together and wanted the best for each other and just gave it our all everyday.”
Just like they expended energy together over their high school careers, Wednesday’s ceremony was no different. Purvis and Monaghan signed with Louisburg College, while Spicer locked in his verbal commitment with Limestone University in the school’s auxiliary gym.
The trio have been the core of a group of Vikings that sported one of the best seasons in recent history back in the spring with a Tri-County Conference regular season championship.
“My favorite day of the year as a head coach is getting to see these kids that have put in work for all these years kind of pay off,” Union Pines coach Eric Marion said. “These three right here do a great job of setting the tone of what they’ve learned over the years and what the expectation is at Union Pines.”
Spicer hit .375 with nine RBIs this past season for the Vikings. In limited time on the mound, he struck out seven batters in his 4 ⅓ innings pitched.
“There’s not a lot of times I can come up here by the field when we are after hours and I can’t find Finley somewhere,” Marion said. “He’s busted his butt and it’s paid off for him and the rest of the guys.”
He joins a Limestone program that went 14-22 last season.
“I think Limestone has one of the best (Division II) facilities in the nation. The coaches are building a great program there and I can’t wait to be a part of it,” Spicer said. “My versatility and bat in the lineup will be big to make an immediate impact at the next level.”
Marion said that he and Purvis “butted heads” in the senior’s first few years in the program, but that changed midway through his high school career.
“Ever since then, we’ve had a great relationship,” Marion said. “Hopefully he’s learned a lot from us. I’ve learned a lot as a coach from him. I wouldn’t want to go on a field without him.”
Purvis was an all-conference performer last year for the Vikings for his play at the plate and on the mound. Purvis will be the team’s leading home run hitter when the Vikings take the field this spring after launching five homers last season, Purvis also finished with a team-best 43 strikeouts in 30 ⅓ innings. He hit .396 with a team-high 23 RBIs as well.
Louisburg, a two-year program outside of Raleigh that is known for moving players on to NCAA programs after graduation, is coming off a 30-12 record last season.
“My pitching is what I’m best known for. I have a lot of pitches that move a lot of different ways,” Purvis said on what he brings to the next level. “I really liked the coaching staff and I really liked the facilities. They’ve got a great history in the baseball program and it felt like home.”
Monaghan brings energy and fight to the Vikings, and that’s what he hopes to do at the college level next year.
“I can play a lot of different positions, I have speed and I can be just like a spark plug when you need something to spark up,” Monaghan said. “It just felt like home for me. The facilities and everything with the coaching staff, it was a way to get away from home and still feel at home. It’s just a great program and I feel like we can do big things there.”
As a junior last season, Monaghan hit .293 for the Vikings, and had an .891 fielding percentage with three doubles plays in the infield. He brings versatility to the next level as he can play several positions on the diamond.
“He’s always upbeat. He’s always pulling for his teammates. He’s always got an edge about him where he wants to win,” Marion said. “And that’s what he does.”
Contact Jonathan Bym at (910) 693-2470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.