Warren Central pitcher Abendroth signs with LSU; Reed, Sterling and Daily headed to Hinds

Published 8:00 am Thursday, November 15, 2018

Three years ago, when he was a skinny freshman with a lively fastball, Farmer Abendroth ventured down to Baton Rouge for a baseball showcase game at LSU’s Alex Box Stadium.

His performance wasn’t great, but when coaches found out why they suddenly became enamored with the Warren Central prospect.

“I had just got done playing three basketball games and my legs were tired,” Abendroth said. “I was still pretty good on the mound, but I wasn’t quite as good. Whenever they found that out, they were really intrigued to start talking to me.”

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On Wednesday, one of them landed him.

Abendroth, now a senior with an even livelier 94 mph fastball, signed with LSU. He’s the second Warren Central pitcher in as many years to sign with a Southeastern Conference school, after Aaron Greene inked with Ole Miss in 2017.

“It’s pretty mind-blowing. I didn’t think it was going to happen at first, just because I knew how hard it was going to be to get in, but it finally happened,” Abendroth said.

Abendroth has taken a long road to Baton Rouge, with a detour through Florida.

He pitched in eight games for Warren Central as a freshman, then struggled as a sophomore. He pitched only 15 innings in 2016, posted a 7.47 ERA and a 1-2 record, and walked 23 batters.

Last spring he went to the prestigious IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, which is a sports-oriented high school. He said being away from home helped him mature and prepared him for what lies ahead in college.

“I learned a lot. Mostly I learned how to prepare yourself and what real life was like with being away from your parents,” Abendroth said. “It was just an eye-opening experience to see how it’s going to be in college. It made me more mentally focused on what I needed to get done and how I needed to get it done. It definitely is a different feeling than being at home with your parents.”

Now Abendroth is back at Warren Central, and ready to contribute to what he and his teammates hope is a state championship run. He should have plenty of help around him. Three other Vikings signed on Wednesday as well.

Shortstop Vantrel Reed and catcher Caleb Sterling signed with Hinds Community College. First baseman Sean Daily is also going to Hinds, but officially it’s as a walk-on. Daily received an academic scholarship — a common way to save an athletic scholarship for a sport that only gets 11.7 per team — and will have a spot on the baseball roster.

“I’ve been watching Hinds games since I was 12 and have a good relationship with (head coach Sam Temple), so it felt like home,” said Reed, who was The Vicksburg Post’s Warren County Player of the Year in 2017 after hitting .323 with 11 doubles, 22 RBIs and 32 runs scored.

Sterling and Daily echoed those thoughts. Enough former Warren County players have passed through Raymond that they’re intimately familiar with Hinds and its program — and what can come afterward.
Temple and his staff have helped dozens of players move on to four-year schools when their junior college careers are finished.

“I know Coach (Sam) Temple pretty good. He coached my brother. I know he can do a lot of good things for the people who play for him,” Sterling said.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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