In baseball, a pitcher-catcher pairing is called a battery. It's a suitable term for a relationship that can get pretty charged up at times.
While most pairs get along well enough, the relationship between a pitcher and catcher can be contentious because both usually have a plan in mind on how they'd like the game to be pitched.
Tyler Barden understands both sides of the coin.
When he wasn't starting on the mound for the Evans High School baseball team this past season, he was the Knights' catcher. Donald Cockerham caught when Barden pitched.
His having the mentality of both a pitcher and a catcher could defuse potentially stressful situations.
Barden's unique combination of skills appealed to the coaching staff at East Georgia College. In the end, the Bobcats got their man.
The Evans graduate signed a letter of intent Wednesday morning to play baseball at the Swainsboro school.
"I want to come in there and do my best," Barden said, "and take advantage of the opportunity I've been given to pitch and catch. It's always been a dream to play on the next level."
Barden comes from an agricultural background -- his family owns a farm in Lincoln County -- and he plans to study agriculture. Thus, he found Swainsboro to be a good fit.
"It's a big farming town, so it's just my type of scenery," he said.
After Barden took part in a workout at East Georgia, the coaches told him he likely would serve as the No. 2 or 3 starter. That doesn't mean he won't be able to play catcher.
"They really like me on the hill, and then they said, 'Well, we're going to give you a full opportunity to catch, too,'" Barden said.
Barden started playing varsity ball as a sophomore. He pitched in relief and played outfield, because the team had an established senior starter at catcher that year. His season was cut short when he was hit by a pitch and suffered a thumb injury.
Barden took over catching duties as a junior and served as the team's closer before starting as a senior. Evans coach Ricky Beale said Barden showed a great deal of development as a pitcher in three years. The Knights' coaches saw his potential when they realized how strong his arm was from the outfield.
"He went from being a thrower to being a pitcher," Beale said.
Also, Beale said, Barden became one of his go-to guys in the lineup, batting cleanup for the Knights.
"He was a big presence for us." Beale said. "He had a really good year swinging (the bat)."
Barden isn't the first in his family to become a student-athlete at the collegiate level. His cousin Brandon, a Lincoln County High School alum, is a redshirt junior on the Vanderbilt football team.
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