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Erwin signs baseball scholarship

In the world of horse harness racing, pacers are known for their speed. In the world of high school baseball, one Bulldog known for his speed will soon become a Pacer.

The quickness of Thomson's Anthony "Pooh" Erwin caught the eye of USC-Aiken's baseball scouts, and the multi-sport standout signed to play for the perennial Division II powerhouse Pacers on Monday.

"I'm glad that somebody was looking at me and taking a chance on me," Erwin said.

Thomson baseball coach Terry Holder was glad one of his players was able to take the next step in his baseball career.

"Well, we're very excited for Pooh because he told me last year that he wanted to play college baseball, and he's really worked hard since we started practice," Coach Holder said.

The USC-Aiken baseball program is known nation-wide. The Pacers - who went 45-19 last year - made Erwin feel welcome as he considered signing.

"The coaches, the baseball program and the players, they embraced me like I was part of them already," he said. "So I just felt at home."

Erwin - who also plays quarterback for Thomson's football team - said he would have pursued baseball as his first option at any school.

"I really want to play baseball rather than football, but if I had the chance to (play both), I would choose baseball over football," he said.

The Pacers' starting centerfielder, Zach Cooper, will graduate this year, giving Erwin a shot at taking over. He liked the opportunity to play during his freshman year, but Coach Holder said Erwin is just getting started.

"He has only scratched the top of his talent and ability," Coach Holder said. "He's got tremendous speed, and he's a tremendous athlete. ...And he's close enough to home too, so we can all go see him play and read about him in the paper."

In addition to that, the eight-time state champion Coach Holder said Erwin's abilities could carry him far in baseball.

"Athletic-wise, I believe he probably ranks up there with as good of athletes as I've ever coached," Coach Holder said. "...Once he develops that how to steal, how to drag bunt and how to swing that bat a little better, we might see him on T.V. one day."

Web posted on Thursday, November 16, 2006

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