Dawson County High School’s starting pitcher Connor Bearden will continue his family legacy of attending Truett McConnell University in the fall.
“It’s the school I’ve wanted to go to for a pretty long time. I had a cousin who played there so I always wanted to play there,” said Bearden.
But it wasn’t just a cousin who attended the college. Both his parents and grandparents attended TMU, making Bearden the third generation in his family to go to the private Christian campus in Cleveland, Ga.
“We love baseball and we’re going to use that as our platform but we want guys that are first and foremost committed to Christ, want to get a good education and lastly, want to be the best baseball player that they can be,” said TMU Assistant Baseball Coach Ross Roberts at Monday’s scholarship signing. “We believe Connor fits that really well. We’re excited to have him.”
For Bearden the choice to attend TMU was easy. He wanted to stay close to home and be at a college that puts faith first.
And it also means that his proud family will be able to continue cheering him on at his games.
“God has blessed us,” said Granny Judy who goes to every one of Bearden’s games – even the cold rainy ones.
Since he was six years old, Bearden has been in love with baseball, playing little league and travel ball and working his way up to being the varsity team’s starter for the past four years.
“He’s had an excellent high school career and we’re very proud of him,” said Head Baseball Coach Dwayne Sapp. “I know Connor’s spent some time playing ball with me during the summer and those kinds of things and I got to see him grow up and mature and I know he’s excited about the next step.”
Bearden currently has a 3.5 GPA and plans to study education and become a high school teacher.
But for Bearden’s dad, Andrew, it’s hard to believe his 19-year-old son has grown up and is going to college.
“It’s hard for me to accept him growing up because in my mind I still see a little boy waiting on me when I come in from work to throw and hit and so forth,” said Andrew.
Bearden has always had the drive and passion to play baseball according to his mom, Anita. Ever since he was little he was always ready to get on the field.
“It was real easy with Connor because his love for baseball always was so important to him and it was never ‘Go get your bag. Go get your glove. Let’s get ready.’ He was always on us. ‘You get ready. Let’s go,’” said Anita. “He just loved it from the beginning and he had a very good support system. He had some good coaches all the way from his little league… I could just go on and on… but you have good leaders like that who support you and want the best for you, you want it yourself.”
But above all else, Bearden has always had a strong bond with his teammates and friends who he thanked during his signing celebration.
“You guys, that’s his favorite. He loves playing with y’all,” said Anita to the Tigers’ baseball team. “He’s had great friendships over the years that have just encouraged him to want to be better and I love y’all as much as he does.”