Lee County's Suggs chooses GSW, ends drought

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

LEESBURG -- Not since former Lee County baseball star Cam Dieter in 2001 have the Trojans sent a player to nearby Division II Georgia Southwestern University.

On Monday, Matthew Suggs changed all that.

Suggs, a senior starting pitcher and outfielder for the Trojans, became the first Lee County signee for baseball at the school -- which sits just 26.7 miles away from Leesburg -- in almost 10 years.

"They had the best offer and they're close to home," Suggs said Monday after inking his national letter-of-intent in front of friends, family and coaches at Lee County. "It also helps that I know about t10 people who are going there."

But Suggs will be the only baseball player, joining former Trojans Dieter and Chad Coffee, who transferred to GSW in 2003 after two years at Chipola Junior College.

"Matt has progressed well and done a good job as a lead-off hitter. This year, he's been particularly good on the mound," said Trojans coach Rob Williams of Suggs, who leads the team with a 6-1 record this year on the mound, while he's batting .370 with six doubles, two triples, 26 RBI and an on-base percentage of .560.

Suggs had to step up in place of absent starter and fellow senior Justin McCalvin when McCalvin hurt himself before the season. And Suggs responded, striking 57 batters this year, walking just 10 and posting a 2.88 ERA.

"He really picked up a lot of the slack," Williams said. "And that's what a leader does."

But pitching may not be in his future at GSW.

"(The GSW coaches) told me they've been watching him for a couple of years now. I was told that he'll probably be starting as an everyday player," said Matt's father, Dwayne.

Suggs doesn't care where he plays. As long as he's playing.

"I'm really excited about playing for Georgia Southwestern," Suggs said. "It doesn't matter if I'm playing in the outfield or as pitcher."