- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
Tyler Long has had his eye on taking his baseball career to the next level. His dream has now become a reality. Long, a standout pitcher and outfielder for the Halifax County High School baseball team, has signed a Letter of Intent with Louisburg College, a two-year junior college located in Louisburg, N.C.
“It’s a big opportunity,” Long remarked.
“I’m glad to find a good school to go to. I’m ready to go play some college baseball.”
Louisburg College is one of the country’s premier small-college baseball programs. The Hurricanes have made 10 appearances in the NJCAA College World Series and a dozen of its graduates and former players have gone on to play in the big leagues.
“I’m looking forward to playing there,” Long said.
“They’re one of the top teams in the nation. They have a good history there.”
Long said what he saw of the baseball program and the school led him to feel that he would fit in well.
“I met the coaches and liked them and they told me to come down for a visit,” explained Long.
“I liked the campus, the coaches and the field and I liked the team when I saw it play a little bit. It’s a small school. That’s what I like. It’s out in the country and that’s the kind of person I am.”
New Louisburg College Head Coach Mike McGuire said he is glad to have Long in the school’s baseball program.
“Obviously, the thing that separates him (Long) from the average kid is he’s a left-handed pitcher and he has a very good arm,” McGuire pointed out.
“That is where I think he has the most potential long term and has the best chance to make an impact for us.”
“Tyler is obviously a very talented left-handed pitcher,” McGuire continued.
“He throws pretty hard. He has good velocity. He’s got a pretty sharp breaking ball and a change-up. He’s got a very high ceiling as a pitcher. It’s just a matter of him harnessing some of that stuff, commanding all three pitches.”
This past season for the Comets, Long compiled a 4-0 record in district play and had an ERA of 1.79. He had a batting average of .383.
“Tyler is obviously a very talented left-handed pitcher,” McGuire said.
“He throws pretty hard. He has good velocity. He’s got a pretty sharp breaking ball and a change-up.”
McGuire said he feels Long has a good future ahead of him.
“He’s got a very high ceiling as a pitcher,” McGuire pointed out.
“It’s just a matter of him harnessing some of that stuff, commanding all three pitches. I think as he gets into college, gets into the weight room, gets into throwing programs and so forth, it’s really up to him how good he can be. If he makes a jump, he’s got a really bright future ahead of him, hopefully beyond playing for me.”
Long earned First Team all-district and all-Northwest Region honors and was named to the Second Team of the All-Group AAA State Baseball Team. McGuire says he will also take a look at Long as an outfielder and hitter.
“I think he’s got a chance to be a dual-guy for us, to hit, play outfield and pitch,” McGuire noted.
“He’s a left-handed hitter. We have a short porch at Louisburg in right field so you’re not going to turn away good left-handed hitters. All of the stuff on the mound and at the plate will be sorted out through the fall as we place him into games and so forth.”
Long has been busy preparing himself for college baseball. After the high school season was over, Long played travel baseball with a team coached by former Halifax County High School player Dwayne Puryear. Earlier this year, Long attended a workout camp held by the Kansas City Royals.
“I went to a Kansas City Royals workout about four or five months ago,” Long said.
“That was a good experience. I did well in the camp. I saw a lot of good ballplayers. You find out real quick that you’re not the best player there. You have to work hard every day. You’ve got to work hard to be successful at anything. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Long said he wants to continue his baseball career with a goal of one day making his way into the major leagues.
“I want to go to Louisburg for two years and see what happens,” he said.
“After that, I’d love to be able to move up and go (NCAA) Division I or Division II. Whichever one it is, it really doesn’t matter. I’m trying to get to the big leagues, just like everybody else.”