ROSEMOUNT — Baseball has been a part of the Cottle family from the time youngest son Clay could put on a glove.
That journey for Clay Cottle and his family took another step recently, as the 2021 Clay High School senior signed to continue playing after high school — by joining the Mount Vernon Nazarene University baseball program beginning next spring.
Joined by his parents — mother Jennifer and father and Clay head coach Marc Cottle — as well as his coaches, friends and family members, Cottle’s commitment to MVNU was a moment the soon-to-be Cougar said he had been working towards.
“It’s at an all-time high right now. It’s what I’ve worked for my whole life, what I’ve dreamed of,” Cottle said, of his signing. “To finally get it in paper is great.”
Cottle’s sophomore season in the spring of 2019 was an outstanding one, as the now Panther senior won a share of the Southern Ohio Conference Division I’s Player of the Year award and was part of Clay’s SOC I championship team — a title it shared with rival Green.
His performance on the diamond during his sophomore season helped earn a spot on the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association (OHSBCA) all-Ohio Division IV second team — one of five Southeast District players named to either the first or second team, and the lone from Scioto County to make those lists.
Cottle earned all-SOC I second-team honors during his freshman season, and was likely poised for another stellar campaign a season ago — before the OHSAA cancelled the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cottle did compete alongside fellow Scioto Countians Elijah Vogelsong-Lewis of Minford and Breckon Williams of Valley as part of the Huntington Hounds — a non-profit travel organization which fields five teams ages 17-and-under — during the summer of 2020.
“The memories have been great, we’ve had a really great three years,” Cottle said. “Last year would’ve been four years, but I’m really looking forward to my senior season and going out with a bang.”
MVNU coach Keith Veale, who is entering his 32nd season leading the Cougar baseball program, said that Cottle’s signing fits a need they’ll soon be faced with filling — as he moves to the Mount Vernon campus.
“Clay fits a need for us. We are looking to add competition in our infield positions, and Clay will do that. Having the ability to play on the left side of the infield will provide more opportunities for him and us as a team,” Veale said. “We like the energy Clay brings to the game, and it feels like a great fit for the type of person we want in our program.”
In addition to baseball, Cottle has been a four-year member of Clay’s varsity soccer and basketball teams during his time as a Panther.
The Panthers are the defending league (SOC I) champions entering the 2021 season, a title Cottle says they’ll be all-in on for defending.
“Oh yeah. I would never count a Clay team out,” Cottle said. “We’re just competitors 1-through-9 — all of us love to compete.”
Upon enrolling at MVNU, Cottle says he plans to major in Finance.
The senior Panther thanked his teammates, family and coaches for helping guide him in every step of his playing career — and the signing process.
“Means the world to me. My friends, my family — they’re who I do it for,” Cottle said. “Without them, I know I wouldn’t be here.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved