08/05/11 — Aycock trio announces college selections

View Archive

Aycock trio announces college selections

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 5, 2011 1:47 PM

Childhood opponents in middle school and Babe Ruth baseball, then teammates on two tradition-rich baseball programs, three Charles B. Aycock graduates made their college intentions official Thursday afternoon.

Aaron Champion and Jonathan Taylor will continue their careers at Brunswick Community College and Pitt Community College, respectively. Derek Limbaugh is headed to perennial Division II power Mount Olive College.

Each has signed a national letter-of-intent.

The trio helped guide Aycock to a 21-win campaign that included the 2011 Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference regular-season championship. They just concluded their year with Wayne County Post 11, which won the Area I crown and finished runner-up in the N.C. Senior American Legion state tournament in Morehead City.

"I loved every minute of it, winning or losing we were still a team," said Champion of his prep experience.

Limbaugh and Taylor agreed.

Now, they're off to new experiences.

A versatile player, Taylor steered toward the JUCO beat with two intentions -- improve his catching skills and work toward earning a Division I scholarship. He handled the backstop duties for the Golden Falcons, but played second base for Post 11 after suffering a jaw injury the final weekend of regular-season play.

Pitt is coached by former minor leaguer Tommy Eason, who has taken his team to the Division I JUCO World Series.

"It's going to be great playing for him because he's caught in the minors, has a lot of experience and is going to be able to teach me a lot of stuff," said Taylor, who was named to the N.C. Baseball Coaches Association 3-A All-State team earlier this week.

"I need to build my arm strength, though."

A left-handed hurler, Champion courted offers from MOC and Louisburg JC. But a conversation with Post 11 teammate Tyler Ruffin, a rising sophomore at Brunswick CC, piqued his interest.

"I started talking with the coach and visited, and liked everything around there ... especially where it was located," said Champion. "The coach played nine years in Triple-A and seems to know a lot about the game. I just felt like it was right for me, so I committed.

"Being a left-hander has an advantage. I feel like I can go there and help the team so they can make it further in the playoffs. I will do anything I need to do to get on the field."

Limbaugh forfeited a Teaching Fellows scholarship to Charlotte.

A right-hander, he felt there was a small chance he would play as a walk-on and kept his options open. While playing with Post 11 this summer, he drew interest from MOC coaches and finally set up a meeting.

"Playing for (Rob) Watt and (Jason) Sherrer was really fun this summer and I like the way they coach," said Limbaugh. "I think I can bring a hard work ethic (to MOC). I'm not the biggest person in the world, but if I work hard and do like I'm supposed, I think I'll be a pretty good player for the next four years."

Under the watchful eyes of Sherrer and Watt, Limbaugh and Champion steadily improved on the mound this summer. The duo learned what pitches to throw, when to throw them and the importance of location against teams that had several college players in their lineups.

They limited their mistakes as the season progressed.

"Both of us got better during Legion," said Limbaugh, who drew a nod of agreement from Champion.