Warrior pitcher picks Wingate

Published 11:23 pm Monday, October 31, 2011

Heading off to college usually means a kid is leaving home. For Nansemond River senior baseball standout Tyler Brown, going to college is going to be leaving home and returning home.

Brown moved from North Carolina to Suffolk and Nansemond River as a freshman.

“Once I started getting recruited, I was fortunate to be able to narrow it down to North Carolina colleges, which was one of the big things I wanted. This just turned out to be the right place at the right time,” Brown said.

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The right place for Brown is Wingate University near Charlotte, N.C.

Brown plays any spot the Warriors need him in. He was an all-Southeastern District pitcher as a junior after being all-district as a utility, or all-around, player two seasons ago. When he’s not pitching, Brown’s usually at second base, centerfield or rightfield.

For the Canes North select team, Brown primarily is a pitcher. Even while playing volleyball for the Warriors through the fall, Brown worked as much as ever with the Canes and Warriors.

“After (volleyball) practice, I’d be out here for practice,” Brown said. “It’s been a busy fall. Then with the travel team, basically every weekend we’re playing somewhere.”

The recent Cane schedule has included college showcase events at the University of North Carolina, N.C. State and the University of South Carolina.

“It’s great competition. I’ve been seeing a lot of guys who make me look kind of bad throwing only 85 (miles per hour),” Brown said.

The winter isn’t an opportunity to slow down, said Brown. He’ll be working to improve for Wingate and the Warriors.

“I’ve got to add a lot of weight. My goal is to be hitting 90 by the spring,” Brown said.

Nansemond River achieved two historic firsts last spring: winning the Southeastern District Tournament and reaching the Group AAA State Tournament. The Warriors were 20-8 overall.

Individually, Brown scored 31 runs with 11 stolen bases and nine doubles last season. He was 6-3 on the mound with a 2.98 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 54.0 innings.

Fitting with being a multi-sport athlete, then a multi-talented baseball player, Brown wants to continue being a pitcher, infielder and outfielder at the college level.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to be a two-way player in college,” Brown said.

Wingate, a Division II program, went 34-22 and reached the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament last season.

Brown said Wingate was the only school recruiting him that he took a second trip to. It’s the best fit academically, along with baseball and geography.

“It has a great teaching program and that’s what I want to pursue,” he said.

With one Nansemond River season still to go, Brown and a senior-heavy team of Warriors have lofty goals in front of them.

“We’re going to work hard all winter to build on last season. We want to make more history,” Brown said.