Photos done and congratulations accepted, Jordan Searcy stared at the national letter-of-intent from Surry Community College on the table in front of him.
“I guess I should actually sign it,” Searcy said.
With a stroke or two of a pen, Searcy made his post-graduation plans official, signing with Surry in a short ceremony held Saturday morning at Polk County Recreation Complex.
Family and a handful of friends watched as Searcy became the second Polk County senior with plans to play college baseball. Teammate Nick Capozzi signed earlier this week with Gardner-Webb.
Even after the ceremony had ended and those gathered prepared to leave, Searcy still had a difficult time putting the emotions of the moment into words.
“Crazy. It’s surreal,” he said. “To see where I came from my freshman year to my senior year, it’s really a difference. It’s something that is kind of hard to believe. It’s just crazy.”
The 6-3 senior missed much of his junior year with an injury. But Searcy said the deaths of his great-grandparents helped motivate him through the rehab process and also the offseason prior to this year. He returned from that injury late last season and had a couple of key relief stints, then made three relief appearances this season before games halted in March due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
“You’re talking about a kid that started as a freshman, not saying this in a bad way but not in the greatest shape, and has worked his tail off,” said Polk County head baseball coach Billy Alm. “Another kid that’s bought into the program and bought into (assistant coach Josh Money’s) throwing program big time. Increased his velocity where he is mid-80s. He’s a three-plus pitcher he’s taking to Surry.
“I think he’s gonna do a fantastic job there. He’s probably one of the hardest workers I’ve had as a coach and I know Josh would say the same thing. Where he’s come from his freshman year to where he is now is just incredible.”
Searcy originally planned to sign with Milligan College, but a change in plans instead led him to Surry County. The Knights finished 24-18 last season, including a 10-3 mark in Region X play. One of four Division III teams in Region X, Surry was off to a 10-10 start this year when its season came to a halt.
Searcy said Surry coaches haven’t discussed where they plan to use him, but he expects to have plenty of opportunities on the mound.
“I think there’s 58 games and they’ve got 16 pitchers, so you’ve got to have so many pitchers to pitch. You’ve got to have arms,” Searcy said.
“I think he’s going to be somebody that comes in and closes or in middle relief to start out,” Alm said. “When he was our closer as a junior, when he came back those four games, he was incredible.
“We wish him the best, but we wish we still had him for another year.”
Though his senior season ended prematurely, Searcy credited the time he spent with Money as instrumental in a post-graduate path he never envisioned.
“I’ve got to thank (Money),” he said. “He’s amazing.
“I never thought I could be here. It’s just crazy.”