11/20/12 — 'Old-school' player likes Heels' style

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'Old-school' player likes Heels' style

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 20, 2012 1:46 PM

An "old-school" player who relishes the "thinking" side of baseball, Adam Pate found the perfect home to continue his career.

And he's not traveling too far from his roots, either.

The Charles B. Aycock senior signed a national letter-of-intent with perennial Division I power North Carolina. Pate garnered interest from numerous schools, including East Carolina, but felt that academics and the Heels' chances of reaching Omaha again undoubtedly influenced his decision.

"It really all started my sophomore year," Pate said. "I went to an Impact Futures game at Carolina, had a good day working out and that's when the recruiting process started. They showed more interest and I could tell all along they wanted me more.

"The opportunity to go to Omaha ... every college player wants to make it to the World Series.

Pate helped lead the Golden Falcons to a runner-up finish in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A championship series last spring. Aycock upended three No. 1 seeds along the way and logged 21 victories.

An all-Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference selection, Pate batted .355 with nine RBI and swatted two home runs. He posted a 5-3 worksheet and collected two saves while toeing the pitching rubber.

He has an 8-3 career record on the mound.

"Adam is a very good kid ... leader on the field, at school and within the community," CBA head coach Charles Davis said. "He's an 'old-school' type player who works very hard and is very deserving of all awards (he receives). He will be a good fit for Carolina."

UNC head coach Mike Fox hasn't quite determined a role for Pate.

However, Pate feels he can easily adjust and prosper for the Heels, who prefer to play "small ball" and benefited from numerous "hit-and-run" opportunities last spring. Pate has quality speed and proved that last season when he swiped 25 of 26 bases.

He has 36 stolen bases during his career with the Golden Falcons.

"They're not going to promise a kid something," Pate said. "It's up to the player to go in and work, prove himself. I've worked hard these four years in high school, but it's really just beginning. That responsibility is on me if I want to play and make an impact.

"There are so many good players out there. You have to play the game right, respect it and the integrity of the game. I think I bring that to the table."

Pate feels his stock as a player improved this past summer with The Dirtbags' travel team, which had several players sign with Division I programs.

Competition on the showcase scene along with countless hours of hitting in the batting cage, long tossing and weight training also helped. But he knows that to succeed on the next level, he must become a better student of the game and increase his level of play daily.

Carolina had three freshmen selected in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft and has put together the country's fifth-best recruiting class for 2013, according to Baseball America.

The Heels finished 46-16 overall last season.

"I've been very blessed to have supportive parents," said Pate, who could major in either sports medicine, sports science or education. "God has blessed me with talents and put me in situations to perform at a high level when it was needed. I thank Him every day and without Him, I wouldn't be able to succeed at baseball.

"I hope I have a long future in baseball because it's really my true love."