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Eaton to play ball at Va. Intermont
Justin Eaton signs his letter of intent while seated between his parents, Bart Eaton and Angie Kinzer. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
Liberty County High School baseball player Justin Eaton will soon become a Cobra. The senior signed to play for Virginia Intermont College, a private NAIA school in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, in Bristol, Va.
Eaton signed Thursday afternoon amid family and friends. He sported his new hat and jersey as Virginia Intermont head coach Josh Swain congratulated Eaton and his family for the athlete’s hard work.
“It feels great and it’s a dream come true,” Eaton said. “This is just a stepping stone to my other dream of playing professional baseball. I’m glad I’m getting the opportunity to get a higher level of education which will prepare me for the real world.”
Swain said Intermont carries a 30 man roster and right now, they are at 25. He said the squad is rebuilding and feels Eaton is suited for their program.
“He seems well-rounded, seems very polite and we feel he will do well academically so that is something we don’t have to worry about,” Swain said. “We’ve got a left-hander pitcher on our staff right now and he is pretty much identical to Justin, and in our conference, I think Justin can be very successful.”  
“It’s humbling and I’m just real proud of him for being able to carry out his dream and go on to the next step,” Eaton’s dad, Bart Eaton, said. “It’s takes a big burden off of us and while he is there, he is going to major in sports management.”
Eaton confirmed he will study sports management and work toward his dream of making it to the major leagues. Eaton and his dad said playing for the Braves would be the ultimate dream come true.
“It’s a long road to get the majors,” Eaton said. “But I’m willing to do whatever it takes.”
“It’s a great feeling to know he was able to accomplish this over the past many years working on baseball,” Angie Kinzer, Eaton’s mother said. “I want Justin to succeed in what he wants to do and be a happy and successful adult, whether it’s playing for the major leagues or sports management. Wherever he decides to go, he has my backing 100 percent, my support and my love and I know he will do amazing things.”
Reggie Sage, Eaton’s grandfather, said the road to college is a tough one for many teenagers who sometimes end up caught in other things and miss opportunities.
“A lot of times, it’s through no fault of their own,” he said. “It’s just how tough it is to get there today. Justin’s a good kid, never been in trouble with the law and does well in school. He’s worked hard to get where he is at and I think he deserves a shot at what he wants in life. He knows one of the most important things coming out of this signing is his education, not baseball. I think that is great that he understands that.”
Sage said he would prefer his grandson play for the Boston Red Sox if he hits the majors.
“Their [Virginia Intermont’s] baseball program is in a rebuilding process.” Eaton’s dad said. “So he might a have a chance to start immediately and make a big impact on the team.”
“We are definitely in a rebuilding time and I definitely see Justin getting some time immediately in the games,” Swain said. “We are looking for immediate impact and I think Justin will be able to step right in.”
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