THERE’S no scholarship money attached to it, but Casey Dunfee has been given a shot to play college baseball.
And he aims to make the most of it.
The Jackson County sidearm pitcher has signed with Truett-McConnell College as a preferred walk on. His preferred walk on status guarantees him a spot on the Bears’ roster despite not being on scholarship.
“I’m definitely excited,” Dunfee said. “I definitely wanted to further my career past high school but wasn’t really sure if I was going to get the opportunity. This came up and I had to jump right to it.”
Dunfee is the fourth Panther off this year’s squad to sign with a college team, tying a record for the most for a senior class under coach Tommy Fountain. He’s also the third Jackson County player headed to Truett-McConnell. Shortstop Patrick Overstreet and pitcher-outfielder Andrew Fogarty both signed with the Cleveland (Ga.) school earlier this month.
“It is cool when you have three of your guys going to the same place,” Fountain said. “We haven’t had that opportunity before.”
The signings of Overstreet and Fogarty helped open communication between Dunfee and Bears coach Mike Croley, which eventually led to a workout.
“I just threw like a bullpen (session), and they came and talked to me and offered the walk on, and I told them I’d take it,” Dunfee said.
Clocking in at 82 mph throwing from the side, Dunfee thrived as the Panthers’ closer as a junior but saw less success as a senior.
“This year wasn’t the best of years for me and the mound I guess, but I definitely enjoyed (my career at Jackson County),” Dunfee said.
Despite his senior struggles, Dunfee still fits a role at Truett-McConnell.
“A lot of times, parents have misconceptions about college baseball,” Fountain said. “They think if their kid goes out and hits .400 that means that they’re going to get a spot. But college coaches look for certain tools.”
Fountain believes Dunfee’s ability to throw in the 80s as a side-armer makes him an intriguing option for the Bears.
“There’s not many guys out there who can throw it 82 from the side with especially as much movement as he has,” Fountain said. “I’m excited for him, and I think he’s going to do a good job.”
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