Pair of Cyclones sign to play for Red Hawks of Catawba Valley CC

Published 4:54 pm Tuesday, June 13, 2023

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Elizabethton baseball head coach Ryan Presnell continues to fill the pipeline for Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory. NC as a pair of former Cyclones inked commitment letters to join former teammate Ethan Meier as a member of the Red Hawk baseball team.
Kaleb Hambrick and Peyton Johnson inked their National Letter of Intent to play for the Red Hawks. Both are recent graduates of Elizabethton High School.
I’ve been coaching and this will be my ninth year coming up, and it’s really an awesome opportunity to send four kids to play college baseball and the cool thing this year is that I have only sent them to two institutions, so they are going places together,” said Cyclone head baseball coach Ryan Presnell. “That helps you sleep a little better at night knowing that your guys are together and the cool thing is that they will be joining Ethan Meier over at Catawba Valley, a really good baseball school with a really good culture.”
Speaking about Hambrick, it was not hard to think about the one thing that set him apart from his other teammates and that was his defensive instincts when it came to the game of baseball.
“Kaleb has played a lot of baseball for us and had made a lot of unbelievable plays in center field. Me and his grandmother were talking earlier about his defensive prowess and that is something that we are going to miss the most about this kid is watching him roaming in center field,” said Presnell.
“I remember his first play was his sophomore year in district tournament, somebody got hurt and we just dropped him out there in left field and within the first ten minutes he had already thrown out a runner and made a diving catch. Super impressed with this kid and the motor he’s got for the game of baseball and more importantly the people he has around him. He’s a good kid and he is going to do well in college.”
When it came to Johnson, Presnell related that no matter if it was a bat in his hand at the plate or toeing the rubber from the pitcher’s mound, Johnson found some way to insert himself into the contest to be a game changer.
“Peyton has been one of those guys that takes over a game as soon as you see him on top of the bump,” said Presnell. “If you see him in the box, you know he is a guy that cause damage from the beginning. He, like Kaleb, has been playing for us since his sophomore year. His first game as a starter was against Pigeon Forge who was ranked as the number one team in the state and he went out and shut them down.
“He has lived up to his billing and he is one of the good ones. We were the ones in the conference that no one wanted to face and I know even there at the end the last game he pitched against Unicoi County was one of the more special things that I have got to witness as a coach. It was one of those proud papa moments to watch him go out there and do the things he did.”
Presnell concluded by saying just the fact they wanted to sign together was a statement to what they meant to each other as teammates.
“I love these guys and I thought the cool thing was that we usually do these signings separate, and these two guys wanted to do it together and it speaks to who they are as teammates,” said Presnell.

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