By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor
Thursday, December 19, 2013 —
Albemarle baseball standout Justin Crump recently signed his national letter of intent to join the baseball program at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Crump becomes the second former Bulldogs in the last several seasons to join the Seahawks’ program, which includes former Albemarle star Corey Dick.
In fact, it was Dick that gave Crump a good feel for what the college was like, Crump said.
Editor's Note: This story was edited on Dec. 20 to correct a mistake; Crump was offered a full scholarship to Morehead State, not Western Carolina.
“UNC-W is a good program; everything was in the right place when I went down there. All these other big schools were nice but I really liked the coaches at Wilmington,” Crump said.
Crump had a number of offers from different NCAA D-I programs, including full scholarships to Penn State and Morehead State, as well as a number of offers from the ACC schools in North Carolina, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee in the SEC and a number of Charleston-area schools like The Citadel and Charleston Southern.
Last season, Crump had strong numbers on the mound for the Bulldogs. The junior had a 1.79 earned run average and led Albemarle with 82 innings pitched, twice as many innings as the next player on the team. He also led the team with 90 strikeouts and has a walks-to-strikeout ratio of 2.65 to 1. Opposing batters hit just .186 against him last season.
Crump’s biggest development has been this fall, where the senior has added speed to a fast ball that now has been clocked at 91 miles per hour, something that he credits to the tutiledge of David Darwin, a pitching instructor with Core Athletics.
“Over the summer, we started pushing the weights and long toss. (Darwin) started getting with me and developing my mechanics,” Crump said.
That added speed drew a lot attention from a number of college and pro baseball scouts at the World Showcase baseball event in October in Jupiter, Fla.
Crump also thanked several local coaches for their help “in developing me as a person,” including the coaching staff of the Stanly County American Legion Post 76 program, head coach Derek Barringer and assistant coach Jordan Sells.
The senior also thanked current Albemarle head coach Jamie Kimrey for his help in his time with the Bulldogs.
“Justin has put in the work. He has worked hard to get to where he is today; he has developed into a three-pitch guy. His velocity has increased to the point that he is a D-I level player. He’s an intelligent pitcher, which gives him an advantage; he’s not just a thrower,” Kimrey said.
Crump has also had visits with several different pro baseball coaches and he may likely also be drafted next year by a Major League Baseball team.
Finally, Crump also credited his family for their help in getting to the next level, saying that his family “pushed me just as hard as my coaches; they didn’t let me go out and get stupid with my friends.”
Crump has put the work in to develop his game, and according to Kimrey, “it’s time for it to pay off.”