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Bulldogs' King signs with Vols

November 26, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Martinsburg High School senior Brandon King, a three-time Herald-Mail All-Area First Team baseball star, can do it all on the diamond.

After he plays his senior season next spring, he'll have the opportunity to showcase his talents at the University of Tennessee.

King signed a letter-of-intent on Nov. 17 to play for the Volunteers on a full scholarship.

"I made the decision in February, and the main thing for me going there was it's a college I would be happy at if I wasn't playing sports," King said. "That was the one."

King will have the opportunity to make an impact both on the mound and at the plate.

"Coach (Todd Raleigh) told me the harder I work, the better opportunities I'll have," King said. "He doesn't know whether I'll be a weekly starter, but I'll be a two-way player. If I could only go somewhere to pitch, it'd be hard for me to make that decision. I've always wanted to be a pitcher and a hitter."

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King's ability to do both helped the Bulldogs reach the West Virginia Class AAA state tournament last season for the first time since 1995.

"He's done everything we've asked him so far," Martinsburg coach John Lowery Jr. said. "He's been a really good player for us. He's been a hard worker, and I can only say great things about him.

"You think of all the years in the (Eastern) Panhandle, the last 30 years or so, we haven't seen many guys like him. His power potential is as good as anyone we've had. He's already broken the school career home run record. He'll throw anywhere from 88 to 92 mph and maybe higher at times, and it's a live fastball. His secondary pitches are good and still developing."

On the mound, King is 19-9 in his prep career with a 1.47 ERA and 225 strikeouts in 156 2/3 innings. Over his sophomore and junior seasons, King has hit 20 doubles and 16 home runs and driven in 99 runs.

With one more high school season still in front of him, King has high expectations.

"A lot of people are going to be surprised at how good we are," King said. "Around the area, talent-wise, we might be the best team. We just have to bring it to the field every day."

According to Lowery Jr., 2007 Martinsburg graduate Kevin Griffin, who played at Potomac State last season, has signed to play at West Virginia University.

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