There will be a Catoosa County connection at the University of Georgia beginning in 2014.
Heritage High School’s Blake Hamilton will join Ringgold’s Slade Dale on the UGA baseball team after each committed this summer. Hamilton, a 6-foot-2 right-handed pitcher, caught the eye of new Georgia coach Scott Strickin this June playing for the vaunted East Cobb Astros.
“My summer league coach, Gary Baldwin, contacted Coach Stricklin, and they watched me pitch a couple of times,” said Hamilton. “I visited the campus and I loved it. Before then I had not really considered going there, but I liked what Coach Stricklin has in store for the program.”
Hamilton, who was 4-2 his junior season for the Generals, also had offers from Georgia Tech and Mississippi State. He and Dale, who have been playing summer ball together since they were 10 years old at the Boynton Recreation leagues, hope to be part of a Bulldogs baseball revival.
“Coach Stricklin has big plans to get the program back to be contenders, and it’s going to be great to be a part of that with Slade,” Hamilton said. “Slade’s a great guy, and hopefully we can room together when we get to Athens. I can’t wait to get started.”
Hamilton’s mother, Carolee, said the connections made through the East Cobb program were what opened the recruiting door.
“Over the last three years he’s been dedicated to the East Cobb program, and we’re blessed that Gary Baldwin showed such interest in him,” she said. “Blake had no interest in Georgia until Coach Stricklin came along, and now he’s very excited about it. They’re doing a big renovation of Foley Field, and Coach Stricklin is changing the culture of the program.”
<em>Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296.</em>