Tuesday, May 22, 2012
© Copyright 2013
COVINGTON -- After spending four years together on Newton's baseball team, Tripp Loftin and Sherman Graves are staying together for a few more years after accepting scholarships with Savannah State University.
"They wanted to play in a D-I program and they really wanted to find a spot where they could play together; they wanted to go to the next level together," Newton head coach Vincent Byams said. "Both guys had an opportunity to play elsewhere but Savannah State worked out well so they could play in the same school."
In his 12 years of coaching, this is only the second time that Byams had two senior players head to the same school.
What made Savannah State a mutual choice between the players and the Tigers head coach Carlton Hardy was that he made them feel welcome and the players liked his plans for things to come.
"They saw the vision for the future and they saw themselves being part of that program," said Byams.
As part of the Newton team, both players had dual roles on the team as fielders and pitchers. Roles which will be different once they start at Savannah State.
"He liked Sherman as a pitcher and he'll also get the opportunity to swing the bat," said Byams. "With Tripp, he needed a left-handed pitcher to build up the bullpen. So he won't really get to bat much."
While on the mound in his senior year, Loftin, who pitched 42.2 innings, had an overall record of 3-5 while striking out 43 batters and having a 3.61 ERA. When he had a bat in his hand, Loftin had finished the season with a .338 average where he had 27 hits, 17 RBIs and scored 20 times.
Graves went yard a couple of times as well as hitting two doubles with a .333 batting average in his senior year. He had 28 total hits where he drove home 25 runs while scoring 19 times himself. Pitching 50.1 innings, Graves fanned 77 batters and had a 3.20 ERA while finishing with a 3-4 record.