Although Justin McCorkle forewent playing prep baseball this season, the former Thomson High starting pitcher who just graduated from Harlem High, is getting what he described as "the opportunity of a lifetime" to play baseball this summer.
But instead of playing in the Peach State of Georgia, McCorkle will be playing out of state - in Ohio.
"It's a great opportunity for me to get back into playing baseball - something I really missed doing my senior year," said the 18-year-old McCorkle, son of Phil McCorkle and Alicia Brown and Robert Brown, all of Dearing. "My whole family thinks it's a great thing, too. They're all supportive of me doing this."
McCorkle will be playing with the Ohio War Hawks.
He was scheduled to fly out of Augusta on June 5 to begin practicing with 15 other prep baseball players from throughout the United States.
"It's really the biggest thing that's ever happened to me as far as baseball is concerned," said McCorkle. "I'm really excited about getting a chance to play baseball again. I feel really honored about getting picked to play with the Ohio War Hawks."
For three years, McCorkle played for the Thomson High School Bulldogs - his first two seasons on the junior varsity team and then his junior year becoming one of the starting pitchers for Coach Terry Holder.
In his junior season, McCorkle, a right-hander, finished with an impressive 5-1 record. He transferred to Harlem High for his senior season, but did not play baseball for the red and black Bulldogs.
"I had hoped to play baseball there, but it just didn't work out," said McCorkle.
McCorkle said his step-father, Robert Brown, happened to meet Robbie Wachman, who once played with the Cincinnati Reds and now lives in Augusta. Brown, who coaches a 10 and Under traveling baseball team out of Thomson, began taking two of his sons to Wachman's baseball clinics. One day while conversing with Wachman, Brown mentioned his stepson and the fact that he once was a decent pitcher.
It led to McCorkle getting the opportunity to showcase his talent in front of Wachman at Chain Reaction Baseball, off Wheeler Road, in Augusta.
"He apparently liked what he saw, because he later introduced me to Fernado Mickens," said McCorkle. Mickens, who lives in Augusta, is one of the coaches and recruiters for the Ohio War Hawks.
"It really means a lot to me that they are going to take a chance with me pitching for them this summer," said McCorkle, who has been playing baseball since he was a little boy on organized teams with the Thomson-McDuffie County Recreation and Leisure Services. His dad, Phil McCorkle, served as his coach.
"I'd like to go as far as I can in playing baseball," added the younger McCorkle.
When he's not working out in baseball, McCorkle is involved in another sport - automobile racing at Gordon Park Speedway near Grovetown and Modoc Speedway near Modoc, S.C.
"This is my second season racing," said McCorkle, who still is looking for his first win in his Ford Crown Victoria.
McCorkle plans to attend Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College in Tifton in hopes of becoming a wildlife technician someday with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.