Former Pike Liberal stars back together on diamond for hometown Trojans

Published 10:27 pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Will Starling and Blake Floyd have a special bond.

The two Troy natives grew up playing baseball together, and frequented Riddle-Pace Field to watch Troy on weekend afternoons.

They are once again on the same team, however they have traded the red, white and blue of Pike Liberal Arts in for cardinal and white of Troy.

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Starling was a starter for the Trojans last season before a season-ending elbow injury, and subsequent Tommy John surgery brought his debut season to premature end.

However, Starling, a three-time All-State player in high school, is ready to go for 2014 and is excited for bull pen sessions with his old friend.

“It’s nice to have him back,” said Starling. “Blake has caught me more times than probably anyone else. He knows how I pitch, and can tell me what he sees wrong from day to day.”

Starling went 4-3 and struck out 46 batters during his junior season.

Floyd captured a state championship during his senior year, and was also named to the AISA All-State team three times.

Floyd is happy to be back at home.

“We would go to games as a kid and say that we were going to play there one day,” said Floyd. “It is cool to actually see that happen. Will and I have played together a long time, and it is pretty cool to be on the same team one more time.”

The Patriot duo is the second pair of former Troy high school teammates to play for the Trojans in the past few seasons.

Former Charles Henderson stars Logan Pierce and William Till played alongside one another in each of the last three seasons

Long-time Pike Liberal coach Butch Austin said the two players will be successful at every stop in their baseball career.

“Will is one of the biggest competitors I have ever coached,” said Austin. “He was always tough on the mound, and hated to lose. “Blake was always a great hitter for us, and loved to play under pressure. They are both good kids, and will do good things at Troy. There is no doubt in my mind about that.”

Troy opens the regular season Februay 14 at Riddle-Pace Field against Northern Kentucky.