A day to remember: Five Patriots sign on the dotted line

Published 5:46 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2019

It was a day to remember at Pike Liberal Arts School as five student athletes made their college futures official during a signing ceremony inside the school library.

Cody Hollis, Chandler Golden, Jade Sikes, Trevor Barron and Max Copeland all put pen to paper in front of family and friends.

“This is an important day in the lives of these kids,” said Patriot Athletic Director Gene Allen. “This group of seniors have been great. They have been great leaders and we are very fortunate that they are going to get to go to college and play the sport they love to play.”

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Patriot baseball coach Allen Ponder, who coached all five players, spoke about how special Wednesday was not only for the players, but for the program and school as well.

“It’s an exciting day for this program and it’s an exciting day for this school,” Allen said. “This has been a very special group. I couldn’t imagine this happening in any other way because they are so close. They are going to do great things. Each program is going to get kids that compete and play the game the right way. They are getting outstanding men off the field.”

Barron signed on with Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia. Wednesday was a culmination of a lot of hard work both on the field and in the classroom for Barron.

“It’s a dream come true,” Barron said. “Ever since I began playing baseball, I have wanted to play at the next level. Berry gave me a tremendous opportunity and I am very blessed and grateful to have that. Couldn’t have done it without my parents, coaches and friends.”

Barron has been told he will be a super utility player for the Vikings. He hopes to continue to play catcher at the next level, and to do that, he hopes to get stronger in the offseason while also working on his offense.

“I want to improve my swing and I have to get stronger,” Barron said. “I hope to progress as a player there.”

The beauty of Berry was a big selling point for Barron, but that was only a starting point.

“I felt at home there when I met the coaching staff,” Barron said. “What really got me there was the players. I really thought I was one of them. Berry has a very prestigious academic side too and that is what you have to look for.”

Jade Sikes will be taking his talents to Enterprise to play for Enterprise State Community College. After a whirlwind month of May, Wednesday’s signing was icing on the cake.

“Coming from working all year on a championship season and focusing on getting to the next level, it means a lot to get here,” Sikes said.

Sikes played in multiple sports in his time at Pike. He played baseball, football and basketball. For Sikes, baseball has always been special.

“I feel like it’s a team sport where you have to have everybody focus on one goal,” Sikes said. “If you have one bad apple, it always ruins the bunch.”

Enterprise State is only about an hour away from home, but what really sold Sikes on the campus was the players on the team.

“I have previously played with a couple of the guys on the team already,” Sikes said. “I feel like it could be the right fit. I heard a lot of good things about the coaching staff and I feel like we can have a really good year next year.”

Sikes hopes to pitch, while also seeing playing time in the infield and outfield.

Cody Hollis officially signed with Huntingdon College in Montgomery, where he will continue to play baseball. Wednesday’s signing lifted a lot of pressure off the shoulders of the senior.

“It lets some pressure of my shoulders, trying to decide where I’m going to go,” Hollis said. “I finally committed and it feels great.”

Like Sikes, Hollis will be attending a school close to home. The facilities also sold Hollis on the school.

“The facilities are nice,” Hollis said. “They have a good coach, been there a while and they have a good atmosphere.”

Hollis has been playing baseball ever since he was a young child and his love for the sport continues to grow.

“Baseball has been my sport since I was younger,” Hollis said. “I have played with all these guys that signed today, it means the world to sign with them.”

Hollis hopes to get healthy leading into next season and when that day comes he hopes to get stronger.

“I’m going to strengthen and keep working out to get stronger,” Hollis said.

Golden came to Pike Liberal Arts for his senior year. In his short stint with the Patriots, they immediately felt like family. In front of his family and friends, Golden signed with Southern Union University.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Golden said. “There are no other guys that I would want to do this with.”

It’s been an exciting month for Golden. Along with signing on Wednesday, Golden and the Patriots are, of course, coming off a state championship.

“It’s been hectic,” Golden said. “It’s been a grind every day on the field. In the back of your mind you just have to know what you’re working for.”

Golden showed up to the university for a private workout and was immediately sold on the school.

“Right when I saw the field it took my breath away,” Golden said. “I just had a feeling that this was the place.”

Copeland will be playing football for Troy University. It was a decision that was an easy one for the Patriot senior.

Copeland will have a chance to play under new head coach Chip Lindsey. The first-year head coach and former coach Neal Brown was a big selling point for Copeland.

“Troy is an amazing institution,” Copeland said. “It’s a fantastic school and (I like) the things that coach Brown did and what coach Lindsey is doing now, putting Troy back on the map.