Charles Henderson’s Burden signs with Miles College

Published 10:31 pm Thursday, May 8, 2014

Xavius Burden signed a baseball scholarship with Miles College Thursday morning. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

Xavius Burden signed a baseball scholarship with Miles College Thursday morning. (Photo/Ryan McCollough)

Xavius Burden, a two-sport star at Charles Henderson High School, gets to keep playing the game he came to love as a child.

Burden signed a baseball scholarship to Mile College, a historically black college located in Fairfield, about six miles west of Birmingham, Thursday morning.

While Burden was a star on the football field as well as the baseball diamond for the Trojans in years past, he said baseball was always his true love.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I loved baseball from the very first time I played it,” said Burden. “Football was fun, but baseball was my sport. I love everything about it, and I am proud to be able to keep playing.”

Burden grew from a bench player to Charles Henderson’s everyday third baseman over the last three seasons, and has provided some pitching depth during the 2014 season.

In his senior campaign, Burden is batting .323 with 26 RBIs, eight doubles and had struck out just eight times.

On the mound, Burden is 7-1 in 2014 with a .309 ERA. He has struck out 64 batters and walked just 20 in over 63 innings pitched this season. In the field, he has a fielding percentage of .881.

Matthew Roberts, assistant coach at Miles, said Burden was a player the school had to have.

“We saw him hit a double up at Bibb County, and he got to second pretty quick,” said Roberts. “Zay can pitch, he can play the field and can swing the bat. He fits in to what we like to do, and is a great person as well. If he puts in the work, we expect him to hold down third base for us for a long time.”

Burden helped lead the Charles Henderson football to the AHSAA 4A Championship Game in December, and was a member of the 2013 AHSAA State Champion Baseball team.

Derek Irons, Charles Henderson head baseball coach, feels Burden’s experiences playing football helped him in baseball.

“You look at the two positions he plays, and they both ask the same things from the athlete,” said Irons. “He played center for the football team, and he wasn’t asked to cover huge areas, but he had to get there quick. It is the same at third base. We ask him to cover about 20 feet, but he must do it in a hurry. The two sports definitely relate to one another.”

Burden grew up playing baseball at the Troy Sportsplex, and later, at the fields on South Franklin Street.

As his career progressed, Burden moved on to Frazier Field at Charles Henderson. He knew that he wanted to play collegiately, but didn’t know if it would come to be until earlier this month.

“I always knew that I wanted to keep playing baseball for as long as I could,” said Burden. “Miles came in last week and offered me. I was so excited for the chance to keep playing. I love the game, and I am thankful for this chance. Not everyone gets the chance to do it. I am lucky, and I will be successful.”