Saint pitcher chooses VMI

Published 12:08 am Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nansemond-Suffolk’s Taylor Edens was 4-3 and had two saves in 10 games pitching for the Saints last spring. Edens had a 2.38 earned run average and struck out 45 hitters. Edens accepted a baseball scholarship to attend Virginia Military Institute during a ceremony at the school on Wednesday.

As with any high school athlete who’s earned college scholarship opportunities, Nansemond-Suffolk’s Taylor Edens was looking ahead as he made a baseball scholarship with the Virginia Military Institute official during a ceremony with teammates, friends and family, lots of family, on hand Wednesday at NSA.

While announcing his academic and athletic plans for the next four years, Edens was following in family footsteps by choosing VMI.

A family link to VMI baseball played a little bit of a role in his decision. Edens’ uncle, Jeff Davies, graduated from Suffolk High School before pitching for the Keydets, graduating from VMI in 1981.

Email newsletter signup

More than a dozen family members, including more Keydet alums in the family tree, were on hand to congratulate Edens Wednesday.

“That makes for a little bit of pressure, but there’s nothing wrong with that,” Edens said. “It’s good to know my family supports my decision because it wasn’t an easy decision.”

The tall right-handed pitcher decided on the scholarship offer from VMI over a last cut with Richmond and Hampden-Sydney.

“I visited all three and VMI came out on top. It’s the school I like the most,” Edens said.

“This is an especially great moment because we have all seen how hard Taylor has worked to achieve his dream,” said Don Birmingham, NSA’s Director of College Counseling.

Edens knows his first year at VMI, especially during the first few months and the Ratline all new Keydets must survive, will be difficult. He’s going to Lexington in July to take courses during the summer and begin to get used to the rigors of being a first-year student at VMI.

“They’ll break my boots in, literally,” Edens said. “It’ll be an adjustment to make it through the Ratline but it’ll be okay. It will be difficult but it’ll be a good experience overall.”

On the diamond, the Keydets were 27-24 last season and head coach Marlin Ikenberry is entering his ninth year leading the Keydets.

“There’s a good tradition. The players are really tight and it looks like the team’s going to be really good,” Edens said.

Edens even continues a link between the Saints and Keydets. NSA alum Robert Crumpler earned a number of accolades as a first baseman and slugger with the Keydets from 2003-07.

Crumpler’s senior season included single-season marks among the best in VMI history, such as 22 doubles (second most in a VMI season), 14 homers (tied for third) and 52 RBI (sixth).

Even though the scholarship and National Letter of Intent became official on Wednesday, Edens still has one more spring of being the top starting hurler for the Saints. NSA’s new head coach David Mitchell reminded Edens of that during his remarks.

“VMI is getting a first-class young man. Athletically and academically, Taylor’s well-deserving of this honor,” Mitchell said. “I’m happy to have him for one more season. Now we’re going to get back to work, right?”

While Mitchell is new with the Saints, Edens has played for Mitchell in fall leagues and on the AAU Mid-Atlantic Pirates for two years.

“I’ve got to work hard for the spring. I’m excited but I realize I’ve got to work my tail off now more than ever,” Edens said.