Overcoming adversity, chasing dreams: Cason Eubanks commits to Troy

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

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Former Pike Lib baseball star Cason Eubanks has already seen the ups and downs of college athletics, going from Division I to junior college (JUCO), but he’s on his way back after announcing that he would be transferring to Troy University.

Eubanks was an All-State infielder at Pike Liberal Arts, helping the school to the 2022 AISA State Championship. His success in high school would lead him to a baseball scholarship at Georgia Southern University.

“The bond that I created with all the families (in Troy), I feel like that’s how it’s always going to be in Troy for me,” Eubanks said. “The second I stepped on Pike Liberal Arts’ campus I already felt like I was family.”

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While Eubanks’ dream was to play Division I baseball, things didn’t go as planned when arriving at Georgia Southern.

“I got humbled really quickly not being able to play,” he said. “Honestly, I wasn’t even able to put on a jersey in the spring or even practice with the team. It really did a number on me.

“For a second, I even thought about hanging up the cleats completely because it was hard going from a shortstop everyday to not even able to put the jersey on.”

Eubanks had played for the Troy Post 70 summer baseball team during his high school career and was invited back to play during the summer after deciding to transfer away from GSU. That’s when Eubanks earned the offer to play at Wallace Community College in Dothan, where he fell back in love with baseball.

“At the time I still wanted to play baseball but it was sort of like, ‘Eh, I guess I’ll play’ but in the fall I fell back in love with baseball,” said Eubanks. “Just being able to compete again really boosted my confidence and, with that chip on my shoulder from not being able to play at Georgia Southern, I think that helped me carry over into what I did this season.”

Eubanks bet on himself and won, earning All-ACCC honors and being named ACCC Player of the Year this season. He boasted a .378 batting average with 28 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 65 runs and 41 RBIs. He also held a .467 on-base percentage and .686 slugging percentage. Defensively, Eubanks earned a .923 fielding percentage with 55 putouts, 126 assists and nine double plays.

“(Wallace) was probably the most bonded team I’ve ever been a part of. Having that bond with the team really helped me get to what I did this season and I thank the Lord that God has given me another opportunity to go back to the Division I level,” he said. “I want to give all the credit to the coaches at Wallace. They are a really good group of guys and I really bonded with them like I did with my teammates. This year at Wallace has meant everything to me.

“They helped me fall back in love with the game again and really gave me an opportunity to play. They took a bet on me because I didn’t even play last year.”

During his freshman campaign at Wallace he began to draw interest from Division I schools once again as he continued to produce on the field. After getting his first offer from Samford, his dream school came calling.

“Troy has always been a place I wanted to play at since I was a kid, especially after being in Troy my senior year (in high school),” he said. “There was no doubt I was going to take the Troy offer, because it’s been my dream school and where I’ve always wanted to play. I’ve always wanted to step on that turf field with the Troy uniform on and I’m just really excited.”

Rush Hixon coached Eubanks at Pike Lib and also played at Troy during his college career.

“It’s really hard to put into words how proud of Cason I am,” Hixon said. “I got to talk to him when he first got the opportunity to go up there and for him to come back home to play for the hometown team – in a town he did a lot of winning in – is something I’m overly proud of. The fact that he gets to wear the same college uniform I did is also something I’m really proud of.

“I know the rich history of Troy Baseball and what they’re doing there now and I know how much I enjoyed my time there. I wish I could have stayed for 10 years. So I’m just really excited for Cason and couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Often times athletes can be disappointed when they only receive interest from junior college (JUCO) schools but Eubanks is emphatic that he urges athletes to look at it differently, even those with Division I offers.

“I made the mistake of going Division I out of high school. Yeah, I thought it was pretty cool at the time but I tell everyone that even if you have those DI offers, you’re better off going JUCO first,” Eubanks emphasized. “You almost certainly will play every day at JUCO. You’ll probably get 100 more at-bats than if you went to a Division I because you don’t know how many they get out of the (transfer) portal or anything like that.

“From my experience, going to Georgia Southern first, I had no shot at playing my first year, but I thank God that He took me there for a reason. If He didn’t take me there I probably would have never gone to Wallace and I wouldn’t be in the situation I am now going to Troy. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I went through, because it isn’t fun, but it did help me in the long run because I go humbled and was able to fall back in love with the game even more.”