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MA’s Whitaker commits to Shelton

By JEREMY D. SMITH

jeremy.smith@demopolistimes.com

LINDEN — Marengo Academy senior Chris Whitaker made his longtime aspiration a reality Thursday when he inked a baseball scholarship offer from Shelton State.

“This was where Chris wanted to play,” his mother, Carolyn, said. “This was his choice and he’s excited about it.”

Whitaker, the youngest of three, will follow in the footsteps of older brother, Tim, who also played baseball at Shelton State. The oldest of the brothers, Chip, also played the game at the junior college level.

“Their facilities and they’re one of the better junior college teams in the state,” Chris said of some of the features that influenced his decision to head to Shelton.

An outfielder and pitcher for the Longhorns, he played an integral role in the team’s 2008 state championship run.

“They’re getting a great player,” Marengo Academy head coach Jonathan Lindsey said of the signing. “A hard worker. Shelton’s very lucky to be getting a ball player like Chris.”

Shelton head coach Bobby Sprowl, who led the program to a junior college national championship a year ago, believes his team is getting a steal with the Longhorn standout.

“We’re getting a good player, in my opinion, one of the more talented players in the state,” Sprowl said. “Probably a sleeper player just because a lot of people don’t know about him. He’s a kid that if he had done all the showcases and everything, he would have been a Division I player right out of high school.”

Sprowl said he anticipates significant contributions from Chris immediately upon his arrival in Tuscaloosa.

“He’ll be a big part of our program,” Sprowl said. “He’s so dedicated to playing. He does what he has to do to play the game. You’ve got a guy that you know is going to play right away. He’s athletic enough that you can probably play him anywhere in the outfield. And if you have to throw him, he’s a decent enough pitcher.”

With his collegiate plans solidified, Chris now turns his attention fully to helping the Longhorns in their efforts to become back-to-back state champions.

After his playing days at Shelton, Chris said he hopes to extend his career further before ultimately pursuing his goal of coaching.

“He’s got a chance to go a long way in baseball when he’s done at Shelton,” Sprowl said.