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Former Patriot signs to play baseball for Troy

Will Starling will be coming home in 2012.

The former Pike Liberal Arts standout signed a national letter of intent to play baseball on scholarship for the Troy Trojans.

“I’m excited to be coming home,” Starling said. “I’m happy to be close to my family.”

Starling graduated from Pike Liberal Arts in 2010 where he led the Patriots to the AISA State Championship series. Pike fell in the series to Glenwood in three games.

The right-hander signed to play for Southern Union Community College in Wadley. In his first season with the Bison, Starling threw 88 innings while earning an 11-4 record.

As a freshman, Starling pitched both the opening round and championship games in the ACCC state championships in Ozark this past May.

Southern Union won the tournament and earned a berth in the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, CO.

Starling said he is excited to play for coaches Bobby Pierce and Mark Smartt.

“I have a lot of respect for all the coaches at Troy,” he said. “Being from Troy, I have known them for a while so it will be a honor to play for them.”

Starling is expected to pitch for the Trojans but will also get a chance to swing the bat as a third baseman and designated hitter.

“My goal is to be a weekend starter,” Starling said. “I’m going to work on my swing. If they need me to hit, I‘ll be ready to hit.”

Starling attributes his success to the slew of coaches he has fortunate enough to play for over the years including PLAS head coach Butch Austin.

“It all started with Butch,” he said. “He taught me how to play and taught me how to play the right way.”

At Southern Union, Starling was under the direction of long time head coach Joe ‘Jabo’ Jordan and pitching coach John Hopper.

“Both of them have taught me about work ethic. They have incredible work ethic and that has rubbed off on me.”