Ever since he could walk, Ben Edwards imagined playing baseball.
On fields in Tellico Plains, that became a reality. The Bears’ senior pitcher and power bat quickly made his name known in local baseball circles and he’ll be expanding those circles next season.
Edwards signed to play collegiately with Roane State Community College on May 2.
“It has always been my dream. I have loved playing baseball since I could walk and getting to continue to play baseball is awesome,” Edwards said.
As a senior, Edwards batted a .328 average with 20 RBIs and 12 doubles, up from his 15 RBIs his junior season with a .365 average.
“I think he loves (baseball) enough and he has put in the work and put in the time. He loves the game and he deserves it. He has worked hard and put the time in,” Tellico Plains Coach Heath Ware said.
On the bump, Edwards struck out 32 batters through 34.1 innings pitched during the Bears’ initial campaign into Class 2A. He led Tellico in innings pitched.
Edwards played travel ball with Garrett Dalton, an assistant coach for the Raiders ball club.
“I like the culture. I’ve played travel ball with the assistant coach. We got along really well and I think it will be a great choice,” Edwards said. “The ability to compete and the want to win (stood out). They want to play the game the right way.”
Edwards can be used in a number of roles for Roane State, including in the infield, on the mound and behind the plate.
“(He is) an all-around guy. He can do anything you need. He can swing the bat of course, and he can pitch, he can play the field. He has been versatile for us,” Ware said. “A lot of people don’t know it, but Ben can catch if we need him to. He can play first if we need him to. Fortunately, we have not had to have him do that, but Ben can play anywhere on the field.”
Edwards mentioned he was attracted to the small size of the Harriman campus, got the feel of the team’s culture when they hosted Dyersburg State and is yet to declare a major.
Roane State is coached by Cam Hamsley. The Raiders currently have nine alumni playing at four-year programs — including three in NCAA’s Division I.