Sudden Impact

College signing means a lot to McGee, West Meck baseball program

by Aaron Garcia

West Mecklenburg High School baseball player Nick McGee (seated left) recently signed a National Letter of Intent with the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. McGee is pictured with (seated right) West Meck coach Mike Carpino and (standing, from left) Principal Denise Atkinson and athletics director John Yewcic.

In late November, Nick McGee, a standout baseball player for the West Mecklenburg High School Hawks, signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the University of North Carolina at Pembroke Braves.

Last season, McGee, a catcher, won the MEGA 7 3A/4A conference’s Player of the Year award, while also being named Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s Mountain Island Baseball Player of the Year.

But handling the pressure to perform well enough to earn a scholarship can be a daunting task, and it’s one that McGee said he’s happy is finally over.

“I felt relieved,” answered McGee when asked how he felt while signing his National Letter of Intent.

“Last year, I was playing for this, and it felt like a weight was taken off my shoulders to get signed. Now I can focus on my (senior) year, and I don’t have to worry about that now.

“I really like all the (UNC Pembroke) coaches,” continued McGee. “They’re Division II, but they’ve got a good program. They’ve had a bunch of people that got drafted. It’s a real good program.”

For those around him, McGee’s signing is a long time in the making.

“I’m ecstatic for him,” West Meck coach Mike Carpino said. “He’s spent four years with me, and to now see it all come to fruition and have him move onto the next level, to actually see him get signed (has been great).

“I think it’s a good fit for him, I really do,” Carpino added. “It’s not that far away, his family can see him play, and it’s in a really good baseball conference (the Peach Belt Conference), and he’ll face some good competition.”

Carpino said he hopes the good news doesn’t stop there. Though none has signed with a college, Carpino said West Meck players such as Dalton Shaw, Matt Davenport and Brian Thompson all have the skill to join McGee at the college level. But the coach hopes the news of McGee’s signing will provide a spark in getting the others some attention.

More than anything, Carpino believes McGee’s signing shows his high school teammates that continuing their careers in college is a real possibility, especially if they log the hours McGee has.

“They see through Nick and the type of leader he is, his work ethic and what he’s done to get there,” Carpino said. “Maybe (that) will motivate some of the others to work as hard and know there’s the potential to do it themselves.”

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