Dreams can come true.
At least they seem to be doing so for Cory Gearrin of Dayton, Tn., a graduate of Rhea County High School who remembers what he would dream about as a kid. Corey says, "I remember what it was like, every kid wants to play major league baseball, or NFL football, or Division I basketball. It has been a dream, or a goal of mine always."
Cory never thought those dreams would become reality, but he humbly admits they are becoming more likely.
Cory spent this summer playing in the Cape Cod League, a league with a reputation for being the premiere collegiate summer league in the country. Twelve of this year's first round draft picks had previous experience playing in the League. Corey, who joined the League as a temp player, eventually found a permanent spot with the Cotuit Kettleers and went on to be named to the Cape Cod Western Division All-Star Squad. Cory was also recently named one of the top 30 prospects in the Cape Cod League.
"It was amazing," Cory said about his summer. "I've heard about the Cape Cod League. I've read about them and seen movies about them, but there isn't anything that compares to experiencing it for yourself."
Cory loved the atmosphere. He loved the people, the players, and the crowds. "It was awesome! Playing with 15-20 scouts behind the backstop, anywhere from 2,000-6,000 fans packed in and asking for autographs."
His summer gave him some national recognition and a chance to play in front of MLB scouts, increasing the possibility that he may one day actually achieve his childhood dreams of playing as a professional. "It seems surreal to hear some of the things I'm hearing, and to think that there is a possibility of playing professionally down the road," Cory says. "It is unreal and has to be an act of God."
Cory is reported to throw a quality slider and give hitters plenty of trouble with his low, three-quarters delivery. His pitches are clocked between 88-89 mph and he struck out 41 batters in 27 innings this summer. H ewas 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA and eight saves.
Cory graduated from Rhea County High School and went to Young Harris, a junior college located in the mountains of North Georgia, on a baseball scholarship. Last fall he pitched against the Mercer University's junior varsity team and impressed the Bears coaches. "Not only were we impressed with his ability to get guys out, but we were also impressed with his confidence and composure on the mound," Mercer head coach Craig Gibson said.
Cory transfered to Mercer for the 2007 season and just finished his second week of classes. He is settling in and working towards a major in political science. He is adjusting and says the Mercer campus is a very comfortable place. He says classes are exciting and he feels like he is fitting in, but he is looking forward to baseball.
Cory says, "Short of my faith and my family, baseball is my passion. I find about as much pleasure in it as anything else in life. I love the guys, the cameradie, and being able to go out there and compete."
"We are really excited to have him," coach Gibson said. "After two great seasons at Young Harris and a really exciting summer with the Cape Cod League, we know he is going to be a great addition to our team."
Mercer finished second in regular season play and qualified for postseason play with a 36-24 record. The Bears recorded their biggest wins of the season versus Clemson and University of Florida. Both teams were ranked first in the nation. The Bears graduated an All-American closer, Andrew Urena, and Cory will be working to fill his shoes.
Cory began playing the role as a closer toward the end of his final season at Young Harris. "I love it. It really gets your adrenaline pumping. You always come out in a pressure situation and it isn't hard to focus."
"We expect Cory to jump in and take (Urena's) place," Coach Gibson said. "When the game is on the line, it is nice to have a guy of his caliber. We are really impressed with Cory and his ability to play baseball. He will be a great asset to the team, but I think he will be equally a great asset on our campus. He is a great person."
Although he understands the importance of being in class, Cory says he misses the excitement of the summer. He and another friend, who played in a summer league, are lamenting the days when they would wake up, eat, go to the field to play baseball and start all over again. "We need to do that for a living," Cory laughed. Who knows, maybe he will.