Cal Sutphin headed to Liberty University

Junior Cal Sutphin, an infielder at Southwest Guilford, has verbally committed to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Cal will graduate from high school in the spring of 2010 and enter Liberty in the fall of ’10.

Cal did a great job last year as a Grimsley Whirlie and his coach from last season, Alan Ashkinazy, feels this is a very good situation for Cal Sutphin.

Alan has worked with Cal for several years and he knows the kid’s strengths and weaknesses and Alan feels Cal’s strengths are what got him the chance for the scholarship at Liberty and any weaknesses that Cal has willl be fine tuned and improved under the leadership of current-coach Reid Holmes at SWG and then his game will be perfected when he goes to work for Jim Toman at Liberty.

Reid Holmes has a terrific program at Southwest Guilford and hopefully Cal will fit in and make the Cowboys even better and we feel cetain he will and we wish the SWG Cowboys the best of luck in the upcoming 2009 season which is right around the corner. Practice should be starting up officially in about three weeks.

We also have to keep an eye out for Ray Crawford Jr. and Josh Tobias because it’s getting close to the time for the young men to leave for Arizona and their week in the sun.

On Liberty University and who they are. Founded by the Dr. Jerry Falwell back in the early 1970’s and now led by his sons Jerry Jr. and Johnathan. Dr. Falwell(now deceased) was a huge baseball fan and he hired one of the best, Al Worthington(former Minnesota Twin), to be his first coach.

In the early days the Flames played their games at Lynchburg City Stadium, home of the then-Lynchburg Mets managed by Jack Akers with Wally Backman, Jeff Reardon, Ron Gardenhire, Daryl Strawberry and many others. Now the Flames play at a beautiful on-campus facility. I mention the Mets, and their affliation with Lynchburg, because Liberty student athletic trainer Steve Garland later became the head trainer for the Mets. I saw Steve at an Atlanta Braves game back in the mid-90’s and he was doing well.

Al Worthington put together a solid program and his Flames club was able to beat the University of South Carolina(coached by Bobby Richardson who later coached at Liberty) back in 1975 when the Flames had only had a team for 2 years….Winning pitcher, old friend Grant O’Dell from California, who spent his spent his summers pitching with Floyd Bannister on the Fairbanks Goldpanners in the Alaskan Summer League.

First Flame to get a shot in the Majors was shortstop Clay Elliot who joined the Braves’ organization in 1976. Later on the Flames sent Sid Bream, Lee Guetterman, and Randy Tomlin to the majors and all three made a name for themselves. In football it was Eric Green from Liberty to the Pittsburgh Steelers as a tight end and not much has been heard from by the Flames in pro basketball, but that all may change with current super-freshman guard Seth Curry(brother of Stephen) running the show…..

Coaches Al Worthington, Bobby Richardson, Johnny Hunton, Matt Royer, and now Jim Toman have led the Flames over the years. Matt Royer played for Worthington and he was a teammate of Bream and Guetterman at Liberty and Royer was in charge right before Toman took over.

Rodney Delmonico, who was the head baseball coach at Tennessee for many years and now is an assistant at Florida State where his son plays, was also a teammate of Royer, Bream and Gutterman. The thing I remember about Guetterman was that he was a lefty and he was 6’7…

Many of you have heard of Karl Hess, currently one the top basketball officials in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He was the point guard for the Liberty basketball teams back in 1976-77 through 1979-80 and Hess played for among others Dan Manley, Dale Gibson, former ABA hoopster Harley “Skeeter” Swift, and Swift’s assistant was Warren Reynods who had just left N.C. A&T here in Greensboro.

Here’s a look at where Cal’s headed and his future baseball coach at Liberty, the Flames’ Jim Toman:
After a solid campaign in his first year as Liberty’s head coach, Jim Toman enters his second season at the helm of the program.

Last season, the Flames fashioned a 13-3-1 record in the month of May to finish the season with a 35-26-1 mark, making Toman the winningest first-year coach in the program’s 35-year history. Toman guided the Flames to their third straight Big South Championship title game appearance, claiming the conference’s runner-up position in 2008. Liberty’s May record was the best ever by Flames team, as Liberty won 30 or more games in a season for the fourth consecutive year for the first time in program history.

Toman was named the sixth head coach in the 34-year history of the Liberty Baseball program in June 2007, after 11 seasons as the senior member of Ray Tanner’s coaching staff at South Carolina. Toman worked a total of 18 years alongside Tanner, dating back to the 1990 season at N.C. State.

During his time at South Carolina, Toman served as recruiting coordinator and worked with the team’s catchers. Known as one of the top recruiters in college baseball, the 19-year college coaching veteran was named the 2002 Baseball America/American Baseball Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year. Before joining the Gamecock staff in 1996, Toman served under Tanner for seven years at N.C. State.

Toman has recruited 15 top 25 classes, including all 11 of his seasons at South Carolina. From 2003-2006, three of the four Gamecock recruiting classes were ranked first in the nation by Collegiate Baseball. Toman’s 2003, 2005 and 2006 classes were named the top recruiting classes by the publication.

You can watch Liberty on ESPNU:
ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, has announced it will televise Liberty’s baseball contest at Coastal Carolina on May 1 live from Charles L. Watson Stadium.

The telecast, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., will be a rematch of last year’s Big South Championship title game. The two teams have met in the conference tournament final the last two seasons.

Liberty Baseball Alumni Weekend from October 30, 2008:
In the evening, 130 alumni and family members attended a dinner celebrating Liberty baseball, past and present. The program’s founder and first coach, Al Worthington, and former coach Johnny Hunton, along with Liberty Director of Athletics Jeff Barber and Flames Club Director Bob Good spoke after the dinner to the group.

Former major leaguers Sid Bream (1979-81), Lee Guetterman (1978-81) and Randy Tomlin (1986-88) were among the former players who attended the dinner.

Saturday evening, Bream, Guetterman and Tomlin were among 54 former Liberty players who participated in the alumni game under the lights at Worthington Stadium. Coach Hunton and Coach Worthington led the two squads, with Hunton’s team winning.

Other Liberty signees from November 15, 2008:
The Liberty Baseball program and Head Coach Jim Toman have announced the signing of seven student-athletes to National Letter of Intents during the NCAA Early signing period. Four of the signees are from the state of Virginia, while the states of North Carolina, New Jersey, and Washington are also represented.

Five of the seven players signed are pitchers. They are right-handers Daniel Brown (Raleigh, N.C.), Cameron Giannini (Danville, Va.) and J.J. McLeod (Burlington, Wash.) and left-handers Jake Matthews (Powatan, Va.) and Chris Roach (Andover, N.J.). In addition, the Flames added a multi-position player Josh Richardson (Chesapeake, Va.), a right-handed pitcher and shortstop, and a power hitting catcher, Jerry Neufang (Stafford, Va.).