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Over the course of his baseball career, recent Hunt High graduate Trey Dail has learned to hit the curveball.
Figuratively speaking, Dail was thrown a curveball regarding his college plans recently and the 19-year-old kept his eyes on the ball, earning an offer to continue his career with Rockingham Community College of the National Junior College Athletic Association.
The Eagles, the NJCAA Region X Division III tournament champions, are coming off their second straight trip to the NJCAA Div. III World Series.
During his senior season with the Warriors, Dail had committed to Paul David Camp Community College, an NJCAA Div. II program located in Franklin, Virginia. However, after Hurricanes head coach David Mitchell vacated his post in May and highly regarded hitting coach Brandon Matthews resigned, Dail weighed his options.
“The reason I decommitted is because the coaches left. I really liked the coaches over there but they left,” he said.
Dail had previously gotten interest from Mid-Atlantic Christian University, a small, private institution in Elizabeth City. However, Matthews, who is also an ages 17-U coach in the Gametime Prospects showcase baseball organization for which Dail plays, contacted Dail to see if he could help. Matthews made a call to Rockingham Community College head coach Reece Honeycutt and within an hour, Honeycutt had contacted Dail to set up a visit.
Dail, who is currently playing for the Wilson American Legion Post 13 team, was a versatile performer at Hunt, where he played outfield and catcher in three varsity seasons. He compiled a career .313 batting average and .408 on-base percentage with the Warriors, scoring 40 runs and was successful on 13 of 14 stolen-base attempts.
Dail said that he already misses playing at Hunt.
“It’s kind of sad, to be honest,” he said. “I loved high school and nothing is going to be like high school. It’s not going to be the same.”
Dail said that he knows he needs to keep working on his hitting, “because for me to be able to start, you’ve got to be able to hit to play on the field.” But he believes his work ethic will help him find a place in the Eagles lineup.
“I hustle on and off the field,” he said. “You’ll never see me dragging. I give it my all.”
The son of Tina Dail of Wilson and Rusty Dail of Black Creek, Dail said he plans on majoring in criminal justice with the ultimate goal of being a fish and game warden. Add fishing and hunting to baseball on the list of passions Dail shares with his father, a Fike High standout who helped North Carolina Wesleyan College win the NCAA Div. III championship in 1989 and is a member of the school’s athletic hall of fame .
“I’ve got some big shoes to fill right there!” Trey Dail said with a grin.
Rusty Dail, who helped started Gametime Prospects with owner Wayne Turnage, said his son’s involvement with the showcase organization paved the way for his opportunities to play college baseball. Trey sparkled during a Gametime Prospects intrasquad scrimmage game last fall that was set up for the benefit of several area college coaches.
“He had two schools talk to him after the game and one of them was Paul David and that’s when we set up a visit,” Rusty Dail said. “We (also) set up a visit with Mid-Atlantic and that’s how his opportunity came about.”
That association eventually led to Trey Dail signing with Rockingham. He’s more than eager to embrace his opportunity to play collegiately.
“I hope to play as long as I can,” he said of what lies beyond his next two years at Rockingham.