BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – A couple of Bridgeport baseball seniors recently signed letters of intent to play at the next level inside the Mountain State. Four-year starters for head coach Robert Shields, Tyler Skidmore signed with Potomac State College, while Greg Smith signed with West Virginia Wesleyan.
The two standouts have helped lead the Indians out to an impressive 19-2 record by the end of this past week.
“It’s just a great feeling because that’s what part of our duties are as coaches – to try and get kids to advance and play at the next level,” Shields said. “Currently, we have several kids playing college baseball right now.”
Smith, who sat out all of last year with a shoulder injury, returned this season and had narrowed his college decision to a couple of choices.
“When I went and visited Wesleyan, I was picking between Wesleyan and West Virginia State,” he said. “At Wesleyan, they were very welcoming and I felt like I was at home and it felt like it was a place where I should be.”
The Bobcats currently have four former Bridgeport graduates on their roster — something that also went a long way for Smith.
Skidmore, meanwhile, took the junior college route in hopes of eventually playing for WVU.
“My entire life, all I’ve wanted to do was play college baseball.” he said. “It”s been one of my main goals, and I’ve always worked towards it. I didn’t know if I wanted to go to a four-year school or a two-year school, but I think my mom thought that academically and athletically would be the best fit for me, as far as getting my feet wet.”
Skidmore entered the past week batting .362, leading the Indians with 20 RBIs and five doubles.
The speed of the game in college is cracked up to another volume. If it’s tweaking your swing in the cage, fielding countless ground balls, or maybe adjusting to the new complex sign system. No matter the task at hand, both current Bridgeport players are eager to learn and continue to grow their talents.
“I can get better at taking the other way as hitting goes,” said Skidmore. “(And) something I’m not great at is footwork, as far as first base and third base goes.”
“I wanting to learn better ways to get to the ball and stuff like that,” said Smith. “Sometimes I pull outside pitches and I think I’ll be able to learn how to take it where the pitch is going. I just want to learn the game of baseball more.”
For now, though, the Indians have their sights on getting back to the state tournament and making a run at another Bridgeport state championship.
“Everybody wants to win,” said Smith. “We’ve always been a winning program since I’ve been here and before. So coming out and wanting to win as much as we do (is something I’ll take moving on).”
“I’m never going to forget the guys that I’ve always grown up with,” said Skidmore. “I mean I’ve been playing with these seniors since I was five, six years old all the way up through, especially Greg (Smith). He’s been on every single one of my teams I can remember.”