Westwood baseball star Douglas Nobles, front row, center, smiles before signing his national letter-of-intent with Georgia Southern on Wednesday as he’s joined by his mother, Tiffany, front row, second from right, and his father, Vernon, front row, second from left, along with Westwood coach Al Timmerman, back row, second from left, and other friends and family.
CAMILLA -- Minutes after Westwood senior Douglas Nobles officially signed a partial scholarship to play baseball at Georgia Southern, Wildcats coach Al Timmerman had trouble singling out his star player's best quality.
Nobles didn't hesitate when asked the same question.
"I like being on top of the mound. I'm more confident there than I am on the plate," Nobles said Wednesday morning. "Pitching has always been there for me."
And that's what he expects his role to be at Georgia Southern, where he will take his 88 to 90 mph fast ball and his four-pitch arsenal next year. However, Nobles insisted Wednesday that he still has some unfinished work at Westwood before he gets too comfortable in his new blue and white Eagles cap.
Last season as a junior, Nobles led the Wildcats to a GISA Class A State Championship appearance and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Crisp Academy in the first game of the championship series. Crisp came back to beat Nobles in that game and eventually swept the series.
Nobles is already plotting his revenge.
"I'm ready for it," Nobles said.
Timmerman said his star player is ready for college baseball, too.
"If he continues with the work ethic he has had here, they will put him to work and I think he will be a good fit (at Georgia Southern)," Timmerman said. "He knows baseball. It's part of his inner-being."
Nobles, who started his high school career at Baconton Charter before transferring to Westwood before last season, hit .506 as a junior with a GISA-leading 12 home runs.
He is even more impressive on the mound. The right-handed hurler has thrown six no-hitters in his life -- including one in the second round of the playoffs last season against Memorial -- and went 6-0, while averaging nine strikeouts a game this summer for a traveling team in Columbus, the Columbus Chain.
Major Division I schools like Auburn, Alabama and Georgia were interested in Nobles, but he said he just felt at home at Georgia Southern's campus in Statesboro. And now he is ready to just enjoy his last few months as a Westwood Wildcat.
"I haven't played my senior year of baseball yet, but I can already tell it's going to be a lot easier," Nobles said. "The pressure will be relieved."
Timmerman, who has coached the Wildcats for 11 years and hadn't had a player sign with a college team until now, agreed that Nobles "can go out and play some baseball now. He can cut it loose and have a good time."
Timmerman then added: "Good things happen to people who work hard, and I am proud of him and the confidence he has. We have one more season with him, and that's what I am excited about."