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Pair of Patriots ink letters of intent

Updated 9:15 p.m.

Pike Liberal Arts baseball players Mayes White and Walker Stallworth signed letters of intent on Thursday to continue playing on a collegiate level.

Stallworth signed with Southern Union State Community College and White signed with Florida State University.

“When you talk about Mayes and Walker, they’re almost the same person as far as their character,” said head baseball coach Rush Hixon. “I have yet to coach them in a season … so can’t speak a lot on their baseball abilities, but as far as their character, work ethic and things like that which will make them successful in life, they’ve got it.”

White, a shortstop, was joined by his parents Bridget and Mario White at the signing. Hixon cited White’s athletic abilities and work ethic.

“Mayes is not only an incredible athlete, but also an incredible kid,” Hixon said. “He has an outstanding work ethic, skill set, and attitude towards the game of baseball, and that is going to allow him to be successful for a long time playing this game. I couldn’t be more excited to see him compete next year at Florida State.”

White said he has been dreaming of the opportunity to play college baseball since he was a child.

“This is a day I have been dreaming about since I was five years old,” White said. “I have always wanted to play baseball at the next level. This is a really big day.”

White and his father Mario White took a trip to Florida State when Mayes was 14. After seeing the facilities, White knew Florida State was where he belonged. “Florida State has been a dream school of mine,” White said. “Ever since then I knew it was the place for me.”

Stallworth, a right-handed pitcher who also plays first base, was joined by his parents Elizabeth and Brett Stallworth at the signing.

“Walker is another high character kid in our program who you can always count on,” Hixon said. “He’s a very hard worker, and his combination of size and strength is going to allow him to make an immediate impact at Southern Union as a two-way player. I believe Walker’s best days of baseball are still ahead of him, and I’m excited to see him compete at the collegiate level.

Stallworth described Southern Union as a place where he fit in well. “I want to thank coach (Aaron) Everett for giving me the opportunity,” Stallworth said. “It’s some of the best facilities in the state as far as JUCO baseball. It’s more like home to me.”

Athletic Director Mario White praised both players’ hard work on the field and in the classroom. “Walker and Mayes are not only great athletes, they are both great students. They work hard in the classroom, in the weight room and on the field in multiple sports,” White said. “I am really proud of their leadership effort. I feel confident they are ready to compete at the next level and will represent their Patriot family well. … I’m excited to see these two as the first of several of our students that we expect to receive athletic scholarships.”

Stallworth and White both transferred to Pike Liberal Arts after spending time at other schools. Stallworth came to Pike after previously attending Charles Henderson, while White recently attended Tuscaloosa Academy. Both players credited PLAS for welcoming them into the Patriot family.

“It was tough when I first decided to come, being from right down the road,” Stallworth said. “I’m very thankful for them for accepting me like they did. It’s been the best decision I have ever made.”

“I have been playing (against) Pike ever since I was in the seventh grade,” White said. “I have played them in the semifinals. It was hard coming here at first because they beat me every year. Once I got here there was a family atmosphere and everybody accepted me. I really love it.”

Both players still have one more year of baseball at Pike and both players want to go out on top, as Pike won state championships in 2018 and 2019 before COVID-19 cut the 2020 season short.

“Of course, the team goal is to win a state championship,” Stallworth said. “We kind of got robbed of it last year. We are looking forward to bouncing back this year

“We want to win a championship,” White said. “I want to try and win every game.”