As a high school baseball star Corey Seager has taken his place as one of the country's best. And now, he's had an outstanding fall.
Only a few weeks after the Northwest Cabarrus junior verbally committed to South Carolina, the reigning College World Series champions, Seager won a gold medal playing in the Pan-American games last month as a member of the 16-under U.S. National Team.
He also was named to the all-tournament team as its Most Outstanding Shortstop.
You're probably familiar with Seager's name, or at least his family's, when it comes to Cabarrus County baseball.
His brother Kyle Seager played on three College World Series teams at UNC Chapel Hill (2007-09) and just finished his first full year for the Seattle Mariners, in the minor league. Playing with the high Class A High Desert, Ca., Mavericks, Kyle led the California League with a .345 batting average and all minor leaguers with 192 hits and 126 runs.
Justin, the middle Seager brother, graduated from Northwest last spring and will play for the Charlotte 49ers this year. Justin and Corey filled the Trojans' middle infield in 2009 and 2010.
As a hot local recruit, Corey Seager had a lot of college options. South Carolina had a couple of things working in its favor. Gamecocks' assistant coach Chad Holbrook recruited Kyle Seager when Holbrook was a North Carolina assistant.
"I really fell in love with the (South Carolina) coaching staff," Corey Seager said. "Coach Holbrook ... and I became good friends with him there. Just thought it was a really good fit for me.
"I guess wining the national championship helped a little too."
Seager gave South Carolina a verbal commitment. He cannot sign a national letter-of-intent until his senior year.
A few weeks later, on Sept. 20, Seager returned home from a workout and was told by his parents that he needed to have a seat. They needed to talk.
Jeff and Jody Seager told their youngest son that they received a phone call from Charlie Spivey, an assistant coach for the national team. Spivey explained to the Seagers that the team was having one last tryout before it would leave for Mexico for the Pan-American baseball tournament and that Corey was invited to attend.
Corey got permission from Cabarrus County Schools, was handed some advance work from his teachers, and headed for Houston, Texas, four days later.
Seager made the team and earned a starting position for the eight-team, 11-day tournament.
Playing in the central Mexico city of Lagos de Moreno, the Americans defeated Dominican Republic, Aruba, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela in the round-robin format and advanced to the final four. The U.S. defeated the Dominican Republic 11-3 in the semifinals and host Mexico 11-4 in the championship.
In nine games, Seager batted .514, knocked in 12 runs, and for the first time in his career, dodged a beer thrown from a hostile fan. Playing in a first round game against Mexico, in front of an estimated 6,000 fans, Seager described a scene in which he had returned to the dugout after driving in a run.
"I got back in the dugout, was leaning on the railing and got beer thrown all at me. I ducked, looked back and there were people all standing up behind me."
Seager said he laughed it off.
Meanwhile, he brought his hometown and high school some national recognition.
"Our baseball program is extremely proud of (Corey's) accomplishments while playing in the Pan-Am games in Mexico," said Trojans' baseball coach Joe Hubbard. "Corey represented us with class, and we are honored to be able to call him one of ours."