Jay Aplin needed little time to impress his next coach.
The Harlem High School senior baseball player participated in a scrimmage during a September visit to Shorter College. He sold Hawks coach Matt Larry on his versatility and his abilities in the infield.
Aplin signed with Shorter on Tuesday as a shortstop and pitcher.
"He's your perfect example of a shortstop," Larry said. "When you have a shortstop, he can play any position on the infield or outfield. He just brings a lot of tools and will add a lot of depth for our program. It's a plus that he can pitch a little bit, too."
Larry called Aplin a natural in the infield, and said his future freshman had a strong arm and athletic ability that would allow him to play anywhere. Aplin's ability in the infield comes in part from having always played there growing up.
"I like it because it's a lot faster pace than a lot of other positions," Aplin said. "You're really involved in the game."
Larry said that, though there were no guarantees, Aplin's chances of playing early would be helped by his versatility.
As a junior, Aplin started several games as a pitcher for Harlem. He also pitched on a big stage playing travel ball, serving as a closer during the World Wood Bat Association World Championship in Jupiter, Fla. Aplin notched two saves during the event, did not allow a run and struck out 12.
He's worked on his pitching since age 11 with Best 9 Sports Academy's Robbie Wachman.
"I've been working on mainly trying to throw harder, getting my velocity up and making sure I can hit my spots when I need to," Aplin said.
Aplin first made contact with Larry via e-mail and was invited for a workout. Aplin's September visit included the scrimmage, an overnight stay and the chance to shadow a player.
The visit gave Larry the opportunity to get to know Aplin and was a chance for Aplin to learn about the program and campus. The school will be known as Shorter University starting in 2010.
"I liked their coaches -- real young coaching, real energetic with the players," said Aplin, who also talked to Middle Georgia and South Georgia. "The school, it's got pretty good academics and the campus is really nice."
Larry sounds just as sold on his incoming freshman.
"I just think he'll fit really well," Larry said. "We're just looking forward to having him."
Aplin has work to do before heading to Rome, Ga. He and teammate Derek Beasley are expected to be Harlem's top two pitchers in the spring. When not on the mound, Aplin will play second base.
He said the Bulldogs have the potential for a good year and that he should be more at ease his senior season
"It feels really good," Aplin said of his college decision. "I'm more confident and relaxed about things."
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