ROCKINGHAM — It is rare for high school teammates to be recruited to the same college, but this was the case for Richmond Senior's Bradley Brown and James Buie.
The pair will be heading to Wingate University next fall to continue their baseball careers after signing their letters of intent in front of family and friends Wednesday afternoon in the Media Center at the high school.
Brown was the first to verbally commit to the Bulldogs in early July and a few weeks later Buie followed suit.
“I had a feeling he was going to go there too,” Brown said. “I knew it was right when I made my decision.”
Buie added he thought Wingate was a perfect fit for him as well and having a teammate there was icing on the cake.
“I really liked the coaches and having Bradley there helped too,” Buie said. “It felt right.”
The pair snagged all-conference honors last season in leading the Raiders to a 28-3 record and the Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament championships.
On the mound, Buie was second on the team with eight wins in nine decisions and boasted a 1.68 ERA. At the plate, he batted .293 with two doubles and 17 RBI.
“James pitched some big innings for us,” Richmond coach Ricky Young said. “Right now we are going through a stretch with some good pitching. Wingate is getting a good pitcher who can compete right away. I will hate to see him go.”
Brown hit .368 as a junior with a team-high 28 runs batted in and four home runs. Brown was 3-1 as a pitcher with a 2.17 ERA before injuring his elbow during a start against SEC foe Lumberton. He also named to the North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association all-state squad, joining teammate Nic Bullard.
Brown had Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow and was happy Wingate continued its pursuit of him even with the injury.
“I was scared because you never know with a surgery,” Brown said. “After the first two months I felt myself getting stronger. I froze when the therapist said let's throw because I was nervous. When I started throwing I was throwing more with my wrist because I didn't know what to think. After a while, it felt like a new arm.”
Young said he isn't surprised to see Brown bouncing back from his surgery and has him penciled in to start at catcher this spring for the Raiders.
“I can't say enough about his work ethic, he does everything right everyday,” Young said. “He hits in the middle of a lineup, where there is more pressure, but he's responded.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.