May 4, 2011

Coates excelling on the diamond, ready for AU

Most people know Leroy (Ala.) wide receiver and Auburn signee Sammie Coates as the blazing fast, ultra talented football prospect that will be taking his talents to the Plains in a few weeks to join the reigning college football national champions.

While Coates' attributes on the football field are certainly what draws the attention, they are not the only talents that makes Coates a great athlete.

In addition to football, the 6-foot-4, 185-pound athlete excels on the diamond as well, and showed again Monday night why he is one of the state's top all-around athletes.

During the second round of the Alabama State High School baseball playoffs on Monday night, Leroy High School defeated Millry in a double header by a combined score of 24-3, led by the hitting and pitching of Coates.

In the series opener against Millry, Coates pitched a five-inning no hitter, hit two home runs, one being a grand slam, and racked up six RBI as the Bears advanced to the third round of the playoffs.

In the first round of the playoffs against Goshen High School, Coates threw a five-inning perfect game, struck out twelve, and hit a solo home run in the Bears 20-0 series clinching win.

"My senior year, I wanted to go out big," Coates said. "I've hit about seven home runs, hitting 91 on the radar gun, 27 stolen bases. I was just really focused this season."

Coates is currently hitting .485 on the season, with 47 runs scored, 29 RBI, four triples, 60 plus strikeouts, and remains undefeated as a starting pitcher.

Leroy faces the winner of Mobile Christian and Flomaton on Friday in the third round of the playoffs.

Until football came into Coates' life, he maintains that baseball was his first priority. Now that he has rediscovered his love of the game, Coates said he is truly enjoying his senior campaign.

"I used to love baseball, then I backed off when I started playing football," Coates said. "Then I came back to it and am loving it. I knew I could have a way better season than last year because I wanted a lot more out of my senior year."

Coates said while he is enjoying his senior season playing both football and baseball, he has no intentions of carrying on that workload in college. Coates said he knows he will be plenty busy with football, and wants his entire focus there.

Since National Signing Day 2011 when Coates inked with Auburn, he has a feeling of relaxation without the pressure of the recruiting process, and is looking forward to reporting to Auburn later this month.

"Since all the pressure is off, it makes things go by so much smoother," Coates said. "I talk to the Auburn coaches every now and then, and they are ready for me to get up there."

Coming from a small high school in Class 2A, Coates feels he has something to prove as a freshman. It started the weekend Coates earned his Auburn offer last summer, running back-to-back sub 4.4 40 yard dashes and wowing the Auburn coaches with his speed and athleticism.

Coates felt he had something to prove heading into that camp and succeeded, and feels he still has something to prove to his doubters.

"I want to come in and make a quick impact," Coates said. "A lot of people doubted me because I'm from a small school. I'm going to prove a lot of people wrong. I went to camps against so-called better talent and I did them in, so I'm excited about the big challenge ahead and I'm ready."

For now, Coates is training and staying in shape while playing baseball, and is adamant that by the time he reports to Auburn, he will be prepared to contribute.

"I'm making sure I can get the most playing time I can as a freshman," said Coates. "I'm working my butt off."



 

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