05/06/07 — A future engineer, Price instrumental in Aycock's success

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A future engineer, Price instrumental in Aycock's success

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 6, 2007 2:01 AM

PIKEVILLE -- Brandon Price uses properties of mechanical engineering every time he steps onto the pitching rubber for Charles B. Aycock.

Arm angles, motion and trajectory toward the plate are things Price thinks about each time he uncorks a pitch. So, it's really no surprise that he plans to pursue a degree in that field.

But where to get it?

Price and his dad Paul looked at engineering curriculum offered by East Carolina, North Carolina Wesleyan and UNC Wilmington. In the end, they agreed a smaller school -- Lenoir Community College -- would benefit Brandon the most.

"They've got a program where after two years, the credits transfer to N.C. State and that's where I want to go," said Brandon, a National Honor Society member who is ranked 15th out of 250 seniors.

The soft-spoken Price, whose delivery is slicker than a used car salesman, signed a national letter-of-intent with the perennial junior college power. LCC is currently ranked fifth nationally and is favored to advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II College World Series in late May.

C.B. Aycock head coach Charles Davis is happy to send another player down the Wayne County-LCC pipeline that has become established in recent years.

"I'm tickled to death with his decision," said Davis. "Lenoir is not only getting a good pitcher, but they're getting a very good, quality young man. That's what college coaches look at these days ... at least, you hope they do."

'You won't have to worry about Brandon off the field or on the field."

Davis certainly doesn't worry.

Price has been integral part of the Golden Falcons' recent dominance on the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference scene. The right-hander has amassed a 13-3 record with four saves in two-plus seasons in varsity play.

A calm presence on the mound, Price keeps opposing batters guessing with an array of pitches. He relies on either a two- or four-seam fastball and a change-up. But he's been developing the "slurve" -- a hybrid cross of a slider and curveball.

"Brandon hits his spots well with the fastball," said Davis. "But I think his change-up, at the college level, is going to be his best pitch because he throws it so well.

"With Brandon, you never know if he's ahead 10-0 or if he's down 10-0 because nothing ever bothers him on the mound. That's what you like to see in a pitcher."

Price complements fellow hurlers Grant Sasser and Garrett Davis. When Sasser sustained a season-ending injury, Price stepped into a starting role and helped the Golden Falcons emerge the ECC regular-season champions.

With Sasser back and healthy, Price gives Aycock considerable pitching depth and experience. The trio has played together on numerous all-star teams since they were 10 years old.

"We always know someone will step up and fill in," said Price.

Price is looking forward to the challenge and commitment of college baseball. Once he completes the two-year course work at LCC, he hopes to continue his career at N.C. State.

Davis has no doubt that Price will succeed.

"The thing with Brandon, and we've talked about it, is he has not reached his potential yet," said Davis. "He can still grow and Lenoir is a good spot for him to continue to do that.

"I think his better years are ahead of him as he continues to mature and his body matures."