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Sims signs with TSU

Justin Sims has played baseball in Troy for many years.

Tuesday, he made sure he will do that for a few more years.

Sims, the former Pike Liberal Arts School and Charles Henderson High School pitcher, signed a letter of intent Tuesday morning to play baseball for Troy State. The left-handed ace led the Patriots to the Final Four in AISA in his only season at Pike Lib.

"This is a pretty big thing for me," Sims said. "I will get to play baseball here at home."

Sims finished his high school career in May and is currently traveling with the Dothan Post 12 American Legion team. He and teammate Wes Johnson, a catcher for the Patriots, joined the team to enhance their opportunities to sign with a college.

Sims weighed Troy State against a few other offers, but Troy State was the only Division I college to offer him a scholarship. He turned down offers from Auburn-Montgomery and a few junior colleges.

Sims said he was impressed with Troy State coach Bobby Pierce.

"He seems like a good guy and a good baseball coach," Sims said.

Pierce finished his first season at Troy State this May. The Trojans failed to make the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, and sixth-seeded Jacksonville ended up winning the tournament.

Sims will get a chance to help the Trojans return to a high level of competitiveness. He will start working with the team in the fall and will try to earn a spot in the rotation.

"I know I won't be able to just walk in there and start throwing," Sims said. "I will have to earn it."

Sims may have a chance to work his way into the rotation fairly quickly. He said Pierce recruited him heavily because he throws with his left hand.

"He told me they needed left-handed pitching," Sims said.

Sims will not get much rest before he begins his college career. The Dothan Post 12 team will keep him busy all summer.

In addition to the grueling six-day-a-week schedule, the Post 12 team also forces its members to travel all over the East Coast. Sims and Johnson will travel all the way to DeLand, Fla., and as far north as Cooperstown, N.Y., to play in some baseball games.

The Dothan Post 12 team has a tradition of performing well against other states and in other venues.

The team has won several state championships and will compete for another one July 30 through Aug. 3 in Huntsville on the campus of Bob Jones High School.