Garner getting college shot
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
For Troup High’s Cade Garner, being a member of the school’s baseball program has been a family affair.
Garner not only played for his father Craig Garner, the team’s long-time and successful head coach, but he also shared the field with a handful of family members.
The 2020 season, which was cut short by the coronavirus, was a particularly memorable one for Cade Garner, who played with his brothers Cole Garner and Carson Garner, as well as his cousin Grayson Garner.
“It’s definitely been an experience, especially this year when I got to play with two of my brothers, and a first cousin,” Cade Garner said. “It’s definitely different. Playing for my dad, it’s been great. We kind of have to separate coach from dad at home. On the field, we have to call him coach Garner, but it’s been great. He’s helped me a lot just giving me advice on what I need to do to go to the next level. He’s been a great coach, and I wouldn’t have wanted to play for anybody else. It’s been a good four years. I don’t regret anything.”
Garner’s senior season ended prematurely, but the good news he has more baseball to play.
Garner, an outfielder, has signed to play baseball at Southern Union College in Alabama, and he’ll be a freshman when the team begins its season in February.
Garner visited the Southern Union campus in the fall and received an offer, and he decided the school was the right fit.
“I’ve always said that would be a school where I could go for two years, and hopefully that would help me jump start my college career,” Garner said. “I felt like that was the right place where I needed to be.”
Garner, who is a three-year starter at Troup, is grateful for the opportunity to realize a goal he’s had since before he arrived in high school.
“Really, it probably hit me when I was in middle school that this is something I’m serious about and that it would be a goal of mine to make it happen,” Garner said. “I was fortunate enough to have somewhere to go before the virus hit. A lot of players are being affected by it right now, and they don’t have a place that they can go, like Chance Lester and Caleb McCurry. They haven’t committed anywhere yet and it’s hurting them, but I was fortunate enough to be able to do that.”
Cade Garner, Grayson Garner, Lester, McCurry, Guy Morris, and Luke Purnell are Troup’s seniors, and they were unable to see their final seasons as high-school players through to the end.
Cade Garner is hopeful that at some point those players will be able to get together and have a senior ceremony.
“We’re still staying in touch with each other, and waiting this thing out, and hopefully we’ll be able to get together and celebrate what we did these past four years,” Garner said.