HAMPTON — Riley Presnell was on the way to Florida for a vacation with his family last week, but he had to make a stop first at Columbus State.
Presnell decided to fit in making a commitment to play college baseball for the Cougars and head coach Greg Appleton.
“It seemed like a good time to commit,” Presnell said. “Once you find a fit for yourself there’s no need to hold back.”
The left-handed senior pitcher felt Columbus State was the best fit despite interest from Duke, Kentucky and Sanford. Kentucky offered Presnell a spot as a preferred walk-on, according to Dutchtown coach Michael Breedlove.
But Breedlove said Presnell was looking for an opportunity to play immediately, something Columbus State could offer.
“At Columbus State he’ll get a chance to pitch some mid-week games and pitch in relief,” Breedlove said. “I think it’s a great fit for him.”
Presnell also said he felt a better connection with Appleton and his coaching staff.
“As a player you’re going to go wherever you feel wanted,” Presnell said. “I felt pretty wanted by Columbus State.”
Presnell has been an impact pitcher ever since the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder entered Dutchtown.
He immediately became the team’s No. 2 starter and has been the Bulldogs’ No. 1 pitcher the past two seasons. Presnell set a single-season school record with 67 strikeouts last year despite pitching in arguably the toughest region in Class AAAA.
This summer, Presnell pitched with the East Cobb Braves, one of the top travel teams in the Southeast.
“He’s pitched in big games,” Breedlove said. “He’s the best pitcher in Henry County and it’s not even close. Last year there were a few guys who were better. This year he’s going to be the top dog. He’s going to lead our team.”
Indeed, Presnell hopes his senior season will be one to remember.
“I’d really like to go out with a bang and win region,” Presnell said. “I feel like we’re in a good position to actually have a shot at it, especially with Coach Breedlove being a great coach.”