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August 2, 2011Austin Nicely (Spotswood High School, Penn Laird, VA, 2013) has verbally committed to play baseball at the University of Virginia. He is a left-handed pitcher / outfield prospect that is a switch-hitter. He also plays for the Richmond Braves National team.
Nicely is expected to play both ways for the Cavaliers. "We are delighted that Austin is staying in state to play" says Braves founder Tommy Mayers. "He was heavily recruited by several of the top baseball schools in the south. He is an exceptional athlete with all the tools to become a top performer at the next level. Austin has the speed, power and arm strength to do it all and we are happy he'll be playing nearby."
We caught up with Nicely's high school coach Mike Thompson, who had this to say about his young star "Austin is a rising junior who throws left-handed and is being clocked in the upper 80s. He has a very determined attitude on the mound and in the field. I had a senior pitcher last year who was excellent which is why Austin did not get as many starts, but he was still 3-2 with a 2.13 ERA as a sophomore. He struck out 28 in only 18 innings of work. He was all district and 2nd team all region as a DH which shows he is more than just a pitcher. I look forward to seeing Austin be ace #1 of our staff at Spotswood for the next 2 years. Austin also starts at quarterback on our football team, so you can imagine what kind of athlete he is. Austin is a great young man to have on a team and I cannot wait to see his leadership grow."
We caught up with Nicely and asked the following:
Why did you pick Virginia?
Nicely; "It's always been one of the best universities in the country, and now it's one of the best baseball schools in the country. Every year they're competing to win the ACC and go to Omaha. They have one of the best fan bases in the country. And I really like all the coaches. They've done a great job of building the program, helping players get to pro ball, and also making sure guys do well in the classroom and get their degree. Basically, I think UVA has the best combination of academics and baseball in the country, and it's only an hour from home. Not too many players have the chance to play at their state school, get a great education, have a legitimate chance to win a national championship, where their family can easily come watch the games."
Why such an early commitment?
"I wasn't really set on committing early. But when UVA made the offer, I didn't think there was any reason to look anywhere further or wait any longer because I knew there couldn't be any better situation for me than playing at UVA."
What other schools did you consider?
"UNC, Coastal Carolina, and East Carolina"
Nicely, who pitches and plays the outfield also told us that he started football practice for Spotswood High School on Monday. He has just completed a busy summer baseball schedule for the Richmond Braves team that finished second at the Impact World Series at Chapel Hill. The Braves also impressed at the World Wood Bat Championships at East Cobb, Georgia, goin 5-0 in their pool play and advancing to the final 16 out of 200 teams!
We also asked Nicely what he felt the 'strengths' of his game were and he responded "Being a left-handed pitcher is an advantage, and I've picked up some velocity to get into the upper 80s over the summer. And being a switch-hitter helps at the plate. I think one of my biggest assets is my flexibility to play different positions (all the outfield positions, 1B, and pitch) and do some different things on offense (hit & run, bunt, steal some bases, hit a couple home runs)."
Being that he is only entering his junior season in high school we asked Nicely areas that he wants to improve upon before heading to Virginia in two years. "On the mound, I need to continue to work on "pitching" by setting hitters up, changing speeds, and locating pitches to certain spots more consistently. At the plate, I need to keep working on my right-handed swing since I don't get to hit as much right-handed in games as I do left-handed. And overall, I need to put on some weight and keep getting stronger."
Below are Nicely's sophomore season stats and accolades:
G-18 H-26 AB-55 Avg.-.464 HR-2 RBI-24
-Led Massanutten District in RBIs and 2nd in HRs
-1st Team All-District DH; 2nd Team All-District Pitcher
-All Region DH and Daily News Record All-Area Utility Player
W-3 L-2 IP-26 H-20 BB-10 K-37 ERA-2.15
Freshman Year Pitching:
W-3 L-1 IP-20 H-14 BB-14 K-29 ERA-1.40
We asked Nicely how he was performing this summer and he said "I'm currently hitting around .385 with a HR and 2 triples in last 2 tournaments. Pitching, I'm 2-1 with with about a 2.50 ERA. The last two weeks, Perfect Game and UNC clocked me consistently 85-87 mph and topped at 89."
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