RED SPRINGS — Caleb Locklear sat in the crowd for his former teammates as they had their signing ceremonies over the past three years and knew that his time was coming.
That time was on Tuesday when the Red Springs senior signed to play baseball at St. Andrews University.
“I got goosebumps thinking about it when I was sitting there,” he said. “It feels very good to accomplish it.”
This year, Locklear was the vocal and emotional leader for the football and baseball teams. Whether it was at practice or in a game, his voice was above everyone else’s as instruction and support for his team.
“I really feel that the team feeds off my energy, so if I come off as being down, they’ll see that,” Locklear said. “I try to lead by example, so if I’m very emotional they will follow.”
“There’s some things you can’t coach and that’s one of them,” Red Springs coach Chris Howell said. “He was an emotional leader on the field and that helps.”
Locklear played outfield and was a designated hitter for the Red Devils this year on the diamond and was second on the team with a .326 batting average and three RBIs.
After visits to St. Andrews and Rockingham Community College, Locklear felt a good connection with the Knights’ coaching staff that he got in contact with inspiration from former Red Springs player Maliq Johnson, who told Locklear to reach out to them. St. Andrews finished 23-31 last year.
“I wanted to have a small environment so I could make a relationship with the professors so that really helped,” Locklear said. “I feel that the coaching staff is really good and friendly. Our first conversation went very good with no awkward moments.”
His work ethic and emotion he brought to the Red Devils will now have to take a step up, much like his game for the next level. For Howell, there are no worries about that after seeing his willingness to work this year.
“He would stay sometimes an hour or an hour and a half after practice hitting in the cage,” he said. “That says alone says what kind of work ethic he has. Honestly it showed when he went and worked out for St. Andrews and they saw something they liked.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.