A video camera, a determined older brother and a click led Glenwood senior pitcher Andrew Tillery to his big moment Monday.
Tillery was one of two Glenwood athletes to sign scholarships at the school. Tillery signed with North Carolina State, while softball player Kayson Boatner signed with Anderson University in Anderson, S.C.
Tillery and his father Bill explained how he got connected with N.C. State. After his junior season at Shaw High School, the Tillerys worked diligently to get Andrew’s name out in the recruiting realm. To help his younger brother’s efforts, Will, who also played baseball at Shaw, sent a video of Tillery pitching to several SEC and ACC schools.
Without having met Tillery or seen him throw live, N.C. State’s coaches offered him a scholarship. The Tillerys eventually made the trip to Raleigh, where they were convinced it was the ideal program.
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That led to Monday, when Tillery signed. Once the ceremony concluded, it was beginning to sink in that the longshot attempt to get recognized could not have worked out better.
“It’s fantastic,” Tillery said. “This is what I wanted. My dream is to come to a D-I school, especially in the ACC. I’m just ready to see what the future holds for me.”
Tillery played well for Shaw in 2017 despite injury issues, posting a 3-2 record with 43 strikeouts and a 1.87 ERA. He also hit .205 with one home run and three RBIs. He was an Honorable Mention on the 2017 All-Bi-City 4A-7A Baseball Team.
Tillery spoke highly of N.C. State pitching coach Scott Foxhall and the environment within the Wolfpack program. But before he heads to North Carolina, he has a season as a Glenwood Gator left ahead.
Tillery said his main focus pitching at Glenwood is throwing strikes and being consistent. He explained his transition to the school has been smoove, and he is eager to return to the baseball diamond.
“I’m excited, Tillery said. “I can’t wait.”
Like Tillery, Boatner’s signing came before ever playing a game for Glenwood.
Boatner played at Northside in fall 2016 before transferring to Glenwood in spring 2017, which meant she had to sit out the Lady Gators’ 2017 season. Glenwood softball coach Dusty Perdue noted that her first at-bat in a spring scrimmage ended with a softball that cleared the field and went over the football stadium’s press box.
Boatner said she knew Anderson was the school for her when she visited the campus and the downtown Anderson. When Anderson head coach Tommy Hewitt offered, she soon accepted, at which point it hit her that her dream was coming true.
Boatner explained her signing Monday served as a real relief.
“This past weekend, I played in a showcase. I remember a year ago I was just wishing somebody would come watch me,” Boatner said. “Knowing today that I was going to sign and be done with it was just a weight off my shoulders.”
Boatner explained she had the opportunity to transfer to Glenwood two years ago, something she regrets not taking. She praised the family-like atmosphere within the school, saying it was something that was just never there when she attended public schools.
Boatner will get her chance to play for Glenwood come spring and has the task of helping the team repeat as state champions, something Tillery will attempt with the baseball team. She explained there’s a bond between the softball players that’s unmistakable, and it’s Boatner’s goal to be a true leader since she is only one of two seniors.
“I can’t wait because of the group of girls we have,” Boatner said. “We’ve already started workouts, and you can see the chemistry we have. Having the jersey and being on the field is going to complete it all.”
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports