Worth County ace Corey Odum, front row, center, signs with NAIA school Point University on Thursday in Sylvester as he’s joined by, front row, from left, sister Courtney, mother Teresa, father Jimmy and sister Chasity, while Rams head coach Will Smith, back row, left, and assistant coach Chase Giddens look on. (Cale Colby/Special to The Herald)
SYLVESTER — Worth County head baseball coach Will Smith calls Corey Odom “my guy” in big-game situations.
And there’s been a few of them over the years in Sylvester, where Odom has blossomed into the ace of the Rams’ staff and has now parlayed his last 3 1/2 years of hard work into a college scholarship.
Odom signed with NAIA school Point University — formerly known as Atlanta Christian College — on Thursday in the Worth County gym. The college is not only being renamed, but it’s moving to LaGrange for next season after winning its conference title in baseball the past two.
“I had some other schools looking at me, but Point showed a lot of interest over the summer and it has the major I want — biology and pre-physical therapy — so it was an easy choice,” said Odom, who is 3-1 on the mound this season with an ERA under 2.00 and is batting .400 with one home run. “I feel like I can bring a lot to their team.”
Smith does too. He’s coached Odom for four years now and says there isn’t a player on his staff he’d rather have the ball in his hand during crucial situations.
“He’s our big-game pitcher, our ace,” Smith said. “He’s really worked hard to get his ERA down, and he’s composed on the mound more so than I’ve ever seen him. Plus, he’s seeing the ball really well right now at the plate.”
Odom says his best game was a narrow, 2-1 win against Fitzgerald earlier this year when he went the distance and allowed just five hits.
When asked what he feels like his strong suits are as a pitcher heading to the next level, he didn’t hesitate.
“My velocity and control on my fastball have gotten a lot better, and I feel I do a good job of keeping hitters off balance,” he said. “I feel like I’m ready (to play in college), and it feels good to have this decision out of the way so I can focus on the rest of the season.”