King’s Fork student-athletes Cedric Henry, from left, Noah Johnson, Danny Gromkoski and Autumn Vick made commitments to attend and play ball for four different colleges during a ceremony held at King’s Fork High School on Thursday.
King’s Fork student-athletes Cedric Henry, from left, Noah Johnson, Danny Gromkoski and Autumn Vick made commitments to attend and play ball for four different colleges during a ceremony held at King’s Fork High School on Thursday.

KFHS student-athletes level up

Published 11:25pm Thursday, April 18, 2013

Three King’s Fork High School baseball players and a three-year veteran softball player all signed commitments to play college ball on Thursday.

Noah Johnson committed to Norfolk State University, Danny Gromkoski to Averett University, Cedric Henry to College of The Albemarle and Autumn Vick to Daytona State College.

Johnson was excited to join the college level of play.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s been my dream since I’ve been young to work this hard and play Division I baseball. It’s always been definitely one of my goals. My family’s always stood behind me, so it’s awesome to finally achieve it.”

Bulldogs head coach Pat Stafford said he thinks the experience will push Johnson “to become a better ball player as far as getting a lot of playing time, getting a lot of starting time … I definitely think he’s going to help their team by his work ethic that he’s going to bring to their team, as well, and just being a good teammate over there. I think he’s an outstanding teammate to the players we have here.”

Gromkoski described the opportunity to play college ball as a blessing.

“It’s something that you work for your whole life, and it’s been my goal my whole life,” he said. “It’s a dream come true. All the hard work, all the dedication, all the long hours, all paid off.”

He had slightly different sports priorities than the other three signers when deciding where to attend.

“I finally found that Averett University was a place where I could play both baseball and football, which some schools didn’t offer me to do,” Gromkoski said.

Stafford said he thought Gromkoski’s plan was ambitious and that he will excel.

“I think for both (sports) that he’s going to bring outstanding work ethic as far as training,” he said.

Henry said signing with the College of The Albemarle meant a lot to him because of “all the hard work I’ve done, been through. I mean, the coaches, they’ve put up with a lot from me, and for them to stick with me, it’s been great.”

“Cedric has a lot of upside,” Stafford said. “He’s very, very, very talented with just his physical features. He’s got a very live arm, he’s got a strong bat. I think the junior college level is going to work out great for him, because he’ll be able to go in right away and get a lot of playing time, be able to improve his skills.”

Stafford echoed Henry’s plans when he said he could see Henry performing well and getting the chance to play at a bigger school.

“I intend to do two years at this school, since it’s a community college,” Henry said, “and then I want to go to a bigger school after that, and then go further on, if I can.”

Signing to play softball at Daytona State College was particularly special for Autumn Vick because of the uncertainty she felt about her education after high school.

“It means a lot, because I didn’t think I was going to make it to college or even get any kind of money for sports, and I’m really glad because I got a full ride,” she said.

She had originally committed to go to Christopher Newport University, but had a strong desire to play college softball in either California or Florida. When the offer came in from Daytona on Christmas Day last year, she jumped at the chance.

Lady Bulldogs head coach Richard Froemel outlined some of what the junior college has to look forward to in Vick.

“She offers a lot,” he said. “Hitting. She swings from the left side, so it’s hitting, slapping, bunting, speed, outfield ability. They’re going to be pleased with what they get.”

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