Nice article on the recently signed Neil Robinette

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Nice article on the recently signed Neil Robinette

Postby BestOfBreed on Wed Nov 16, 2005 5:20 pm

Richmond power hitters lock up scholarships

By Matthew Osborne/Richmond County Daily Journal
Wednesday, November 9, 2005 11:48 PM EST

Kyle Roller and Neil Robinette have shared a lot since they were in Little League. On Wednesday, they shared the spotlight, as both signed scholarships to play college baseball.

Roller penned a deal to play at East Carolina, while Robinette is headed to Wofford. Both are getting a chance to play at the next level, but it marks the first time they have not played together in their young baseball careers, dating back to when they were in elementary school.

“We have been good friends since we were little, and I have always known Kyle would play at a big-time school,” Robinette said.

Roller responded in kind, saying he always knew his teammate had in it him to play college ball.

“He’s a good buddy, and I will always root for him to succeed in college ball,” Roller said.

Both are seniors who will be part of a powerful offensive lineup at Richmond this spring. Roller batted .428 with two home runs, 12 doubles and one triple last season and was named all-Mid-Southeastern Conference for the second time. Robinette hit .364 with 12 doubles, one triple and three home runs, and he was on the all-conference team as a junior.

“Kyle is a real complete player with exceptional power who can also hit for average,” Raiders baseball coach Trent Mongero said. “He should be able to step in right away and help East Carolina in a lot of areas.

“Neil is an extremely hard worker and a very fundamentally sound player. He can hit the ball to all fields and has gap to home run power.”

Mongero said he was proud of both his players getting a shot to continue their careers and their education.

“This is a great opportunity for both young men,” Mongero said. “They have both worked extremely hard on the field, in the weight room and in the classroom.”

Roller said the choice at East Carolina was easy when he went for a visit to the campus in Greenville.

“It was always one of the top schools I wanted to go to, and when I went there, I was blown away by the facilities,” Roller said. “The coaching staff is awesome, and I am excited about the chance to play there.”

The Pirates reached the NCAA regional in Tempe, Ariz., last year before falling in two games to Arizona State and UNLV.

Robinette was helped to make his decision by his father, Kenneth, who is familiar with Wofford and what it has to offer.

“I was interested in going there, and my dad was able to tell me a lot about it,” Robinette said. “I am just glad I can go to a good school where I am able to keep playing baseball.”

Wofford coach Steve Traylor said he was happy to bring Robinette to Spartanburg.

“He brings a great left-handed bat and a defensive presence at first base,” Traylor said. “He is a good all-around player who will have some pop in his bat as he gets bigger and stronger. He is an outstanding student from a great family, and he fits exactly the kind of young man we are looking for at Wofford.”

Both players said they were happy to sign together, as well as to get the process behind them before the school season begins.

“It’s a big weight off my shoulders,” Roller said. “Now I can go out and have fun and play the game the way you are supposed to. I am hoping to hit .500 this year.”

“It will be good not to have to worry about it,” Robinette said. “Now I can concentrate on playing hard and trying to win a state championship.”

Contact sports editor Matthew Osborne at 997-3111, ext. 14; e-mail mosborne@yourdailyjournal.com.
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