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Jul. 30—LATTA — Latta standout Tucker Abney became the second of what East Central University head baseball coach Sunny Golloway likes to call his Pontotoc County kids to sign a letter of intent to play baseball with the Tigers.
Abney had his signing ceremony Wednesday at Falls Creek youth camp near Davis.
Golloway said Abney's big bat first caught his eye and after a chat with him and his family, he invited the LHS slugger to a workout.
"After accepting the ECU head baseball job, I made several calls to see about the local talent in our hotbed of baseball schools around Ada and Tucker Abney's name kept coming up," Golloway said. "Then, after seeing him work out, it became clearly apparent that he's a talented athlete that needed to be in the player development program we run at ECU."
The rest, as they say, was history.
"Tucker is a strong young man who has a high skill set and can really square it up at the plate. I see him developing into a special player within our program,' Golloway said.
All Tucker did last spring was hit .543 with four home runs, 13 doubles, and 35 RBIs to go with 18 walks and only seven strikeouts. He also had 16 stolen bases and a .988 fielding percentage.
"Tucker should have been an All-Stater," Golloway said. "I looked at his numbers. I don't care that he wasn't. He's still going to play the same for us. We're just excited to get him."
Latta head coach Dillon Atkinson said Abney's presence will be missed both on and off the field this fall.
"Tucker is one of the most hard-working kids I've ever been around. He's selfless and is all about helping the team," Atkinson said. "He will be greatly missed not only on the field but also in the locker room. You can't replace a guy like Tucker. We are beyond excited to watch him at the next level."
Abney seemed to hit it off with Golloway right from the start. And he's happy to be playing in Ada so his family can easily follow he and his Tiger teammates around.
"Being close to home was a big part of it," Abney said.
The tryout went well and afterward Abney, his dad Teddy, Atkinson and Golloway had a meeting to discuss all things ECU baseball.
Abney left with a good impression of his new coach.
"(Golloway) talked about how much he liked what I would bring to the table for him and his team. He also talked about the different ways he coaches compared to other coaches," Abney said. "Coach Golloway is a very well-known coach and I think he is way more than just a coach. In the 30 minutes I have been around him, it seems like he wants to make us more than just good baseball players. He wants us to be great young men and great teammates."