Billy Gamblin tried to persuade his son to bat left-handed when he was young.
Patrick Gamblin threw left-handed, but he wanted to bat from the right side of the plate.
"He was pretty hard-headed about some things," Billy Gamblin said.
Patrick Gamblin stuck with the right side at the plate, which proved a good decision. He batted .485 for Harlem High School as a sophomore and .465 last year as a junior, with seven home runs and 41 RBI .
But Gamblin has made his mark as a hard thrower on the mound. His left arm helped him earn an offer from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., where he signed a letter of intent to play baseball.
The Eagles also can use Gamblin as an outfielder.
He played right field last season when he wasn't being used as a closer. But Gamblin was recruited as a pitcher, and that is where he expects Winthrop will use him.
In August, Winthrop coaches told Gamblin he was high on their list, but also that his breaking ball could use some work. So Gamblin paired up with former Greenbrier standout Nolan Belcher for some pointers.
Belcher, a fellow lefty and University of South Carolina freshman, showed Gamblin his grip and release point during weekend sessions at Harlem's baseball field.
Winthrop coaches saw noted improvement at a showcase tournament the school played host to Sept. 12. The Eagles later scouted Gamblin at a wood bat tournament in Jupiter, Fla., and they were sold.
Their initial offer jumped from a 50 percent athletic scholarship to 65 percent.
"I certainly appreciated it," Gamblin said of his sessions with Belcher. "It kind of earned me that scholarship, really."
Gamblin also had an offer from Presbyterian College, a potential full ride to a school where yearly tuition is nearly $30,000.
But Gamblin was more impressed with Winthrop's facilities and didn't like that the Blue Hose, who are new to Division I baseball, do not yet compete in conference tournaments.
"I'm really excited to go to Winthrop," Gamblin said. "It's a nice place."
Gamblin will be back on the field for Harlem in the spring. Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis said Gamblin, who was used mainly as a closer last season in addition to playing right field, could see more innings as a starter.
Lewis said Monday he thought Gamblin might be the first ever Division I signee from the school.
"He deserves it; he's a hard worker," Lewis said. "He's one of the hardest working kids we've had."
Gamblin's fastball has been clocked in the high 80s, but he's continued to log long hours with his hitting.
Gamblin's work schedule has included marathon sessions in the batting cage with his father since he was about 10 years old. And for about the same stretch, he's stayed busy playing travel ball.
It paid off with a Division I offer.
"I'm overjoyed by it," Gamblin said. "It's always been a goal. Now it's come true. "
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