Stanhope Elmore junior Colton Walls has always wanted to play baseball at Troy, so when the opportunity presented itself, it was an easy decision for the star pitcher and infielder.
Walls announced his decision to commit to play college baseball at Troy last week. It didn’t take much convincing for Walls to commit there. Both of his parents went to Troy, so Walls grew up a Troy fan and has been attending games there since he was a kid.
He, like many kids, dreamed of playing college baseball. But it wasn’t just playing college baseball for him. It was always to play college baseball at Troy.
Now he plans to do that.
“There’s really a lot of reasons why I want to play there,” Walls said. Troy play in a really great baseball conference and their facilities are really good. They have a new stadium and new facilities and stuff coming. They have a really great coaching staff that has some SEC experience and I was really impressed by that. Plus, Troy just feels like home.”
Walls had a successful sophomore season for Stanhope, where he starred on the mound but also on the infield, where he plays multiple positions including catcher.
But even with a successful season, his Troy offer didn’t come in until after the season ended. The attention picked up early in the summer, and Troy started to check in on him.
Once the interest was there, Walls showed interest back and Troy first-year head coach Skylar Meade, who was hired in July, offered Walls just a few weeks ago. It didn’t take long for Walls to accept the offer.
“It was a pretty obvious choice for me to commit there,” Walls said.
Walls is being recruited as both a pitcher and an infielder, and he has shown true promise as a pitcher. Walls considers himself a power pitcher, and so does Stanhope coach Kaleb Shuman.
His fastball reaches up to 91 miles per hour, and he mixes in a nice curveball and changeup as his three-pitch repertoire. On the mound this past year, he finished with a 2.74 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP with a 7.5 K/BB.
Meade is also interested in Walls playing a corner infield spot or at catcher, and hopes he can take on a dual-role as soon as he steps on campus in the fall of 2023. At the plate last year, he hit .340 with three home runs, nine doubles and 24 RBIs.
“He’s a power pitcher that leans on a heavy fastball and works his off speed off of it,” Shuman said of Walls. “He has good velocity and good stuff. Troy is getting a very good player. As good of a pitcher as he is, he is as good or better as a hitter. I think he will be impactful as either a pitcher or hitter or both. It’s exciting to see him get this opportunity to play at the next level.”
Troy is a program known for winning, and the Trojans hope to get back to that standard under under first-year coach Meade. Meade has spent the last four seasons as the pitching coach at the University of South Carolina, where he helped lead the Gamecocks to the No. 4 ranked earned run average in the SEC last year.
Troy finished last season 27-26 with a 13-11 record in Sun Belt play. The Trojans missed postseason play after going 0-2 in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. It wasn’t a loss of a season, though, and the Trojans showed lots of promise in the 2021 season by splitting the season series with Florida State and by sweeping Coastal Carolina in a three-game set.
Troy has not been to the NCAA Tournament, however, since the 2018 season. They came up just short in 2019 after a 31-29 season and the 2020 season was cut short after only 17 games.
There’s still two years until Walls will become a member of the Troy baseball team, but he feels he can help them get back to postseason play when he does get there.
“I really feel like I can help them win,” Walls said. “I think I can really help the team there.”