COTTON SIGNS

Banks County baseball standout Caden Cotton recently signed with Southern Wesleyan University. Pictured are (front row, L to R) Carson Cotton, Heather Cotton, Caden Cotton, Chad Cotton, (back row) Banks County athletic director Mike Cleveland, James Dye, Cayman Brooks, Peyton Hart, Dylan Charles and Derrick Davis.

Front L to R: Carson Cotton, Heather Cotton, Caden Cotton, Chad Cotton

Caden Cotton was putting together a monster senior year on the diamond before the season was cut short. Fortunately for Cotton, there will be more baseball as the Banks County standout recently signed a college scholarship with Division II Southern Wesleyan University.

“It’s a great moment for Caden; it’s a great opportunity for him,” Banks County baseball coach Peyton Hart said. “Well deserved. (He’s) one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever known … He’s a great student of the game. He’s the ultimate leader. He’s always positive. He’s always high energy. Southern Wesleyan is getting a good one in him.”

Cotton was batting .451 with seven doubles, 11 RBIs and 11 stolen bases when the season ended prematurely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. On the mound, he was a perfect 5-0 with a 1.12 ERA and 29 strikeouts.

“The biggest thing that stinks is that we didn’t get to see just how good of a senior season he would have had,” Hart said. “But we’re excited for him to go to the next level. Caden really sets the standard for a leader for our program just by his daily work and his actions.”

Hart said Southern Wesleyan, located in Central, S.C., is considering using Cotton as a two-way player, putting him in the outfield and on the mound.

“He’s going mainly as an outfielder, but he pitched unreal this year,” Hart said. “So, they’ve seen that as a tool that maybe they can use and develop and continue to develop and get some work out of him that way.”

Not only is Cotton moving on to college baseball, but at a high level at that, Hart points out. The coach said the Conference Carolinas, of which Southern Wesleyan is a member, regularly features some of the top teams in NCAA Division II.

“They’re in the best Division II conference, arguably, in America,” Hart said. “Year-in and year-out, they’ve got anywhere from three to four teams in the top 10 in Division II. So, it’s a great honor for him to go play at the next level, but he’s playing in one of the elite conferences at that level … So, that speaks volumes for him as a player, but also as a person, too.”

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