JACKSBORO—Tucker Cain fulfilled a lifelong dream on Wednesday morning.
The senior baseball and basketball player signed his letter of intent to play at Bryan College with numerous supporters by his side.
“It’s really exciting,” Cain said. “Ever since I was a kid, and especially since my brother signed with them, it’s been my dream to play college baseball. To play at Bryan and for them to give me this opportunity, it’s just really great. I’m such a blessed kid. God has blessed me so much, and it’s just a great feeling to be able to do that.”
Cain becomes the sixth athlete to sign to a college from the Class of 2014.
“It’s great,” Cain said. “It’s starting something in Campbell County. Just because you’re from Campbell County, it doesn’t mean you can’t go anywhere. It’s great to have all these people signing.”
He also helps the Campbell County baseball squad to its second straight year with a four-year college athlete.
“I think that’s just great,” head baseball coach Ryan Browning said. “Two straight years, we’ve had guys go to four-year universities. We have a few more guys that will hopefully have the chance to sign. That’s a big thing.”
Possibly an even bigger thing is Cain signing before his senior season even begins.
“I know a lot of times, that allows the player to relax,” Browning said. “Back in the past, I know I had a few players that pressed through the year constantly worrying about a phone call or somebody watching them. That helps a lot to give Tucker some peace of mind to just go play baseball.”
One of the things that has gotten Cain to the college level is his work habits, Browning said. The coach said the senior has came up during the fall to keep his arm in shape.
“He’s a perfect example of hard work pays off,” Browning said. “I really appreciate him working hard for us.”
Cain plays center field and pitches for the Cougars during the spring.
Having those opportunities on the mound, while being relaxed without the worries of a college look, will help the senior excel in his last season as a Cougar.
“It’s huge. It takes a lot of pressure off me,” Cain said of signing early. “That was one of my goals as an athlete was to sign before the baseball season. I don’t have all that pressure on me, and I can just go out there and play the game I love.”
It will also help the Cougars.
Last season, Cain was awarded the Offensive MVP award from the Cougar squad.
According to Browning, the award could have gone either way, with Cain taking either the offensive or defensive plaque home.
“He can cover some ground,” Browning said. “I don’t think people realize just how strong Tucker’s arm is. He can get it back in. He’ll, hopefully, cut down on extra bases by other teams. In college, they usually put the strongest arm in right field. He can do that for us, but we put him in center field because he can cover that ground. That’s what we’ve got to have.”
Both Browning and Cain feel Bryan College is a perfect fit for the senior.
He’ll join his brother on a squad that went 31-26 in 2012.
“It’s a pretty good fit,” Browning said. “It’s not far from home. It’s a good school, and it’s a smaller community. He’ll fit in well. It helps knowing somebody. Going in and playing baseball and things like that, knowing somebody will help him relax and just play baseball.”
“I’ve always liked the campus,” Cain continued. “We had a friend that went there before my brother did, and we went down to visit her. I’ve always like the campus, and I know a lot of people there and have a lot of connections there. When my brother signed, it helped with that, too. The coaches are great. The players are great. When I went down there for a visit, they were very welcoming and excited. It was just a great experience.”
The only thing left in questions is how playing with his brother will go.
“We’ll have to see,” Cain said with a laugh. “The last time I played with him, it wasn’t really fun. We’ve both grown as people, and I think it’ll be awesome. It’ll be a great experience.”