Berea College signs Fairland’s Burcham

Published 7:30 pm Sunday, April 19, 2009

PROCTORVILLE — After Nathaniel Burcham made a pitch, Berea College baseball coach Ryan Hess made his pitch.

Burcham worked out at Berea College during a recent visit and Hess liked what he saw so much that he make his sales pitch in hopes of landing Burcham as a recruit for next year’s team.

The pitch was a strike as the Fairland Dragons senior pitcher signed a letter-of-intent Thursday to play for the Mountaineers.

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“He has the tools. Once we saw him throw, we offered him on the spot,” said Hess. “I think he can throw in the rotation, but we’re not going to force anything on him. I expect him to throw quality innings right away.”

In order to throw right away, Burcham said he has some work ahead of him.

“I have a lot of hard work. I’m going to have to hit the weight room and start running and get in better shape,” said Burcham.

“It’s going to be a lot tougher. I did a lot of work in the off-season. My arm was hurting so I had to build up my muscles.”

Burcham, who is 2-0 with a no-hitter to his credit this spring, said the choice wasn’t that difficult.

“I went to visit and it seemed like a good fit. The campus is small and close to home,” said Burcham. “The (baseball) field is real nice and the schedule looks like it’s real competitive.”

Besides baseball, Burcham was the placekicker for the football team. Although he likes kicking, he said baseball has always been his passion.

“If the opportunity arose, I would have looked at (kicking in college). Baseball seems to be the better choice. I’d choose baseball over football any day. Football was a filler for me,” said Burcham.

Nathaniel’s sister Sashe pitches for the girls’ softball team. He said they root for each other.

“It doesn’t matter who does the best. There’s no need for competition between us,” said Burcham.

Nathaniel, who plans to major in accounting, is the son of Angie and Shawn Burcham.