Avant inks with Alabama

Published 11:23 pm Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday morning, Pike Liberal Arts shortstop Chandler Avant signed a baseball scholarship to play for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.

Avant’s family, coach and teammates were all on hand to watch Avant ink the document.

For Avant, the scholarship represents a lifetime of hard work. Avant credited his parent with guiding him throughout his baseball career. “My mom and dad have helped me tremendously during my entire career,” Avant said. “I know that the expenses weren’t cheap. I want to thank them for all they’ve done. My mom is in the cage throwing to me almost every day. My dad throws to me whenever I need him to. I appreciate everything they’ve done for me.”

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Avant listed a number of people who have helped him throughout his life. “My grandparents make it to every game they can,” Avant said. “My older brother played college baseball, and he has been helping me with my game. Coach Butch [Austin] has been coaching me since seventh grade. He is a great coach and a great guy. He coaches the game the way it is supposed to be coached.”

Though Avant signed with the Tide, he also had offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn and Troy. Avant said choosing Alabama was one of the harder decisions he has had to make. “I first met coach [Andy] Phillips, who recruited me, and I wasn’t too sure about Alabama,” Avant said. “I took a visit to Auburn and almost fell in love. I didn’t commit though. I took another trip to UA and talked to [head coach] Gaspard and fell in love with the place. I went to the Auburn-Alabama game, and the atmosphere was great. The coaches are great, and it’s a great place.”

PLAS coach Butch Austin said it has been an honor to coach Chandler for the past four years. “I want to congratulate Chandler on signing with Alabama and going to play Division I ball,” Austin said. “Chandler has been on varsity since seventh grade. He is an outstanding young man and baseball player. He is unusual in that he is good in all parts of the game. He has a good arm and good feet. He can hit the ball and run. He wouldn’t be where he is today without those skills.”

Avant’s father, Greg, said his son enjoyed the recruitment process. “He enjoyed it,” Greg said. “He had a lot of fun. I think he enjoyed all his visits. He got know the Alabama players, and he likes the group.”

Avant is expected to play middle infield with the Tide after his senior season with the Patriots.