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Student inks to play baseball at Wingate University

Halifax County High School senior left-handed pitcher Dylan Sons will play collegiate baseball at Wingate University. Sons, surrounded by his family and his high school coaches, made the announcement Monday morning at the high school.

Wingate University is located near Charlotte, N.C., and it serves more than 2,500 students on three campuses in Wingate, Matthews and Henderson.

Jeff Gregory is the head baseball coach for Wingate, a member of the Division II South Athletic Conference.  The Bulldogs finished second in its conference last season with a 17-10 record, and they finished with a 34-22 record overall.

Sons said Wingate was a good fit for him, both in the size of the school and in what he was looking for in a baseball program.

“It’s a good fit.  It’s a smaller college, and I wanted to go to a smaller college,” said Sons, who came on strong on the mound for the Comets last season in helping them win the Western Valley District regular season title.

“I liked the coaches, and it’s a good environment,” added Sons, who was recruited as a pitcher.

Halifax County finished with a 17-6 record last season and reached the quarterfinals of the Virginia AAA State Tournament, where Sons pitched against James River High School.

Sons was named to the All-Western Valley District First Team as a first baseman after hitting .425 and driving home five runs in the regular season in 2011, but Wingate University saw potential in Sons as a pitcher, according to Comets’ Head Baseball Coach Kelvin Davis.

“It’s a very exciting time for Dylan in that he has an opportunity to play at the next level,” said Davis.

“A lot of things had to be done to get him to this point.  One of my main philosophies is for the guys not to be satisfied at where they are at, and to keep working day after day,” said Davis.

“Dylan did that, and at the end of the season last year he pitched very well for us and won some very big ball games for us.”

“I knew without any doubt in my mind he had all the tools to play at the next level,” added Davis, who noted Sons’ work ethic.

“It just shows you that with good, hard work it can happen, and I’m happy for the family.”

Sons’ early announcement of his college choice takes a lot of pressure off him and his family, Davis noted.

“I know it’s a lot of pressure off them right now, and I know that Dylan is going to continue to improve and not accept where he is right now,” explained Davis.

“He can go in this season and do the things he needs to do to improve and be very successful.

“It’s good to get it over with.  I’m glad for the family, and I’m excited for him.

“If you get a left-hander (upper 80s) throwing that hard, he’s going to turn some heads.  He turned a lot of heads, and Wingate to him was a perfect fit.”

Sons agreed making his decision early takes some of the pressure off him as he prepares for his senior season.

“It’ll relax me a little bit.  When I get on the mound, I can just focus on pitching,” said Sons, who admitted he needed to work on getting stronger and getting better control of his pitches.

Dwayne Puryear, a standout baseball player (1980-1982) at Halifax County High School, helped coach Sons’ travel showcase baseball team this past summer, and he also has worked with Sons as an instructor.

“One thing with Dylan is he’s left-handed and has a great pitcher’s body,” said Puryear, who couldn’t be present for the signing.

“He definitely has room for development.  There are a couple of things to work on this winter, but he throws the ball really well.”

“He has good breaking stuff,” added Puryear, who noted Sons’ pitches touched 90 MPH in a couple of tournaments last summer.

“We’d like to get him more consistent at 90, but a lefty throwing 85-90 is going to fit into any program he wants.”