LAURINBURG — Fighting Scots senior Matthew Hyatt put pen to paper on Monday afternoon signing his letter of intent to play baseball at Coker College in Hartsville, S.C.
Matthew was joined by his parents Crystal and Darron Hyatt, whom he credited with pushing and encouraging him to also try and be his best.
“They were very helpful my mama and daddy pushed me a lot — especially my daddy.” Matt said. “He pushed me to become the best I could be.”
The area and the coaching staff at Coker College was what swayed Matthew to leave the state of North Carolina and head farther south.
“I really fit in with the team and I think it will be where I succeed the most,” Matt said. “It was probably the nicest facilities I saw. Hartsville is about an hour and 10 minutes from Laurinburg.”
Coker is a Division II school and plays in the Atlantic South Conference. The Cobras are coached by second-year head coach Luke Harrigan, who led Coker to 22 wins in his first season.
The distance according to Matt was just far enough away to feel like he was going away to school, but still close enough to home that his parents can come to all his home baseball games.
Matthew said he plans to study business marketing during his time at Coker and eventually hopes to be a brand professional for a professional sports team.
The Scots senior said he never imagined when he started playing Optimist baseball as a child that he would wind up getting the opportunity to be a collegiate pitcher.
Matthew led the Scots pitching staff with a 0.66 ERA, despite a broken wrist that sidelined him during the Southeastern Conference tournament and 4A playoffs. During his junior campaign, Matthew had four wins and three losses under his belt in his 11 appearances. He tallied 41 strikeouts in his 53 innings pitched.
With the signing out of the way, Matthew said he plans to enjoy his final season on the mound for the Scots.
“It makes me more relaxed. It makes the season more memorable because this is my last high school season,” he said. “I know I’m promised the next step, but I know this is where I’m always going to be remembered.”
Fighting Scots head baseball coach Chad Hill said he and the rest of his coaching staff are extremely proud and excited for Matthew.
“We’re tremendously happy as a coaching staff. To see someone of Matthew’s caliber and work ethic to go on and play at the next level we’re just ecstatic,” Hill said.
The Fighting Scots skipper knows even though Matthew will be more relaxed on the mound, hitter will be even more determined to get a hit knowing he’s going to play at the next level.
“He will have a big target on his back,” Hill said. “He was one of the best pitchers in the conference, he’s going to play college baseball after high school so every hitter that steps in the box is going to want to hit him to prove that they can hit a collegiate bound pitcher. We’re excited to have him back for his senior year.”
With a 0.66 ERA from last season, Hill hopes his pitcher lays it on thick for his final outing wearing the Scotland colors.
“I hope he makes it even harder this year,” Hill said.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.