Petal’s Cole Sellers signed with East Central Community College baseball on Thursday.
Sellers, a 6-foot-1 pitcher, managed to gain attention from colleges during fall scrimmages and through game film from the spring season.
“Cole was seen a lot in the fall by some colleges when we scrimmaged,” Petal coach Shane Kelly said. “He was on the radar during the spring. We all hate what happened, but we stayed with it and talked to some junior colleges. We filmed games, and that helped him get to East Central. They were able to see the film of him pitching. We are real excited for him to have the opportunity to do that and to represent us at East Central.”
Sellers showed improvement after finishing with a 5.11 earned run average in his junior season. Sellers ended the 2020 year with a 1.75 ERA in three appearances and threw eight strikeouts in four innings pitched for the Panthers. Before the end of the season, East Central CC held a 10-8 overall record. The Warrior pitching staff’s 127 total strikeouts ranked as the 33rd most in the country.
Sellers’ other main opportunity was to play at Belhaven University. However, the academics did not fit his future path, and he also had a connection to East Central CC.
“I was offered a scholarship from Belhaven University about a month ago, and the academic path didn’t line up for me,” Sellers said. “My summer coach knew the East Central coach and put in a good word for me. The coach texted me and I sent videos of my pitching. Then it just started from there. With a lot of unknown things going on, this is a really good opportunity.”
Sellers gave credit to the Petal baseball program for helping shape him as a player.
“Petal was great,” Sellers said. “There are not many schools that invest in their players as much as Petal does. Coming up since eighth grade and getting exposed to the high school coaches that young was awesome.”
While his future role with East Central CC’s pitching staff is unclear, the program’s main message was for him to focus on staying in shape for the fall.
“(ECCC told me) to get back into shape and back to where I was at the beginning of spring, to not stop working, run, and do anything I can to keep what I gained from the past four years,” Sellers said. “This is the longest break I have ever had without doing any baseball or anything.”
For Petal, Sellers is the fourth member of the Panthers’ 2020 team to sign with a college team. Along with Sellers, Matt Mercer and Logan Walters are both signed with Pearl River Community College and Josh Cary is signed with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
“I think Petal baseball is moving up, and the talent level is starting to get better,” Kelly said. “These kids are starting to buy into the program and are working hard. I think it shows a lot for this senior group to have four guys sign junior college scholarships and go on to play baseball.”