Ben Tankersley says baseball has always been his favorite sport.
But considering the Greenbrier High School senior recently signed a football scholarship to be a placekicker at Presbyterian College, you might think Tankersley now has a new No. 1.
Tankersley begs to differ.
"If it's baseball season, I like baseball better," he said. "But if it's football season, I like football."
This spring Tankersley's fancy has turned to baseball, and the Wolfpack's starting second baseman has brought some of his best gridiron qualities to the diamond.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"Ben is a kicker, but he's got a linebacker's mentality," Greenbrier baseball coach Ed Williams. "He plays hard, and he's so competitive. If you have a bunch of kids like Ben, it makes a coach's job a lot easier."
Tankersley is a three-year starter for the Greenbrier baseball team, but he admits his junior season was a strain. He knew he wanted to play college athletics, but the sport was undecided.
"There was more pressure last year. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, so I guess I was trying too hard," he said. "This year I know I want to play football, so I'm just out here trying to have fun, knowing it could be my last baseball season. I want to end on a good note."
Tankersley may end on a great note. He started his senior baseball season with five hits in the Pack's first two games, including two doubles, two RBI and three runs scored. He also has played solid defense at second.
"I feel more confident this year," he says. "We've got a good team. Knowing there are good players behind you makes it easier to play well."
Regardless of whether he's playing football or baseball, Tankersley has one priority - to win.
"Ben may not be big in stature, but he's so big in heart he makes up for it. He's able to compete because of his inner drive," Williams said. "He is hoping to get the opportunity to go to Presbyterian and not only play football, but to also play baseball. Whatever the season is, that's what he wants to do."
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