Jeff Hurndon Photography
Union Grove's Mike McClellan (left) has committed to play for Georgia Southern while teammate Travis Bergen has chosen to sign with Kennesaw State.
By Derrick Mahone
With their college choices made, Union Grove seniors Travis Bergen and Mike McClellan say they can enter the upcoming baseball season "relaxed" and "focused on the season" with hopes of a long playoff run.
Bergen, a left-handed pitcher, has committed to Kennesaw State while McClellan, a catcher/first baseman, plans on signing with Georgia Southern. The early signing period for sports other than football will be in early November.
In addition to Kennesaw State, which is a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, Bergen had offers from Winthrop, Mercer and Georgia State. He said that Div. II school West Georgia and Valdosta State had also shown interest.
"I just felt like the coaches at Kennesaw State can get me to where I need to be as a pitcher," said Bergen, who had 60 strikeouts last season.
McClellan had an offer from Winthrop, but said that Clemson and Central Florida were starting to show interest. He decided after an official visit to Georgia Southern that it was the right fit.
"It was a great place," McClellan said. "I just new that I would be able to fit in. The players treated me great. When I went down to Georgia Southern, they give me the red carpet treatment. I felt as if God had given me a signal that this was the right place."
With his mind made up, McClellan said it will "take the press off" and he could concentrate fully on helping Union Grove make it into the state playoffs.
Last season, McClellan hit .389 in 22 games with 24 hits. He had 14 RBIs and eight doubles.
"I can't wait for the season to start," McClellan said. "Our pitching and hitting is going to be good. We have 12 seniors on the team, and that will really help."
Last season, Bergen showed great control with only eight walks. He compiled a 3-3 record with a 2.76 ERA for the Wolverines, which finished with a 11-12 record and did not qualify for the state playoffs.
"We have a chance to be real good this season," Bergen said.
In addition to the season, Bergen said his other goal is to get stronger and work on his mechanics. He has been clocked at 87 mph with his fastball.
He is currently playing fall baseball for Home Plate in Peachtree City.
"I've just been trying to work hard and get ready," Bergen said. "There are some things that I've been working on for the season. It is great to have my college choice out of the way, now I just can work on the season."