Cedar Bluff senior Pack-ing for Bryan College after signing baseball scholarship with NAIA Lions

Cedar Bluff’s Kaden Pack, seated center, signed a baseball scholarship with Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., on Tuesday. Pictured with Pack are his baseball teammates. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

CEDAR BLUFF – Cedar Bluff senior baseball infielder/pitcher Kaden Pack loves the pressure situations.

Even playing quarterback for the Tiger football team last season, living for the crucial moments has been his thing.

“When I’m under pressure, I feel like I’m always going to do good,” Pack said. “When it’s my turn, I know I can get it done.”

So many times last baseball season Pack got the job done, both at the plate and on the mound for the Tigers (16-13), who ended a two-year playoff absence last season. He batted .373 with three home runs, two triples, seven doubles, 12 walks, 10 stolen bases, 28 runs and 28 RBIs.  On the mound, Pack posted a 5-3 record with three saves and a 1.85 ERA with 71 strikeouts.

Even in the classroom, Pack has performed well. He leaves Cedar Bluff with a 3.6 grade point average.

All those pressure Pack moments led to what he called a dream come true on Tuesday morning. He signed a baseball scholarship with NAIA Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn.

“It’s unreal honestly. I don’t really have words,” Pack said. “This is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a little kid. I kept working hard. I put in so many extra hours. The only way you get to this point is to put in the extra hours.”

Cedar Bluff baseball coach Colby Coursey said Pack’s signing with Bryan is a testament to his hard work.

“Since I took the program over, he’s always putting in the work,” Coursey said. “He really became a leader this year. He really showed the way for the younger players how to do things the right way. That really carried over onto the field too. He had a fantastic senior season. He led us on the mound. He’s in the top five in batting average and RBIs. He’s the MVP of our team this year. Not having him in the lineup next year is really going to hurt us.

“I’m going to miss him for sure. I wish I had nine Kadens.”

Pack gives credit to his coaches and teammates for putting him in the clutch positions.

“Those grand slams (against Gaylesville and against Lynn in the Class 1A state playoffs), I couldn’t have done it if they weren’t on base,” he said. “We really turned this program around, and now it’s back where it needs to be. I’m proud for getting where I am, but I’m more proud of them for what we have now.

“I love my coaches. I couldn’t be where I am now without Coach Coursey and Coach (Garrett) Crane in football. I can’t repay them enough. I’m always going to give them and my teammates credit no matter how far I go and in everything I do. They’re all a big part of my life. They all went through it with me.”

Pack said he had several signing options, but true to his playing under the pressure nature, he wanted to go somewhere challenging that could prepare him for his ultimate goal of playing Division I baseball.

“I chose a school that’s going to be really hard for me to start,” he said. “I chose a school where I’m going to have competition. Their whole lineup is fourth-year, fifth-year, sixth-year seniors who took their COVID year. My goal is to be the only freshman who plays.

“They have a sixth-year senior at shortstop, and they’re looking at me for third base and second base to play and to be two-way and pitch too. That’s really good for me. They have a second baseman leaving, and that’s another reason why I chose to go there. That’s a good spot for me to try and fill. I think I’ll do well there.”

Coursey feels Pack will do well at Bryan as well.

“They’re kind of like a hidden gem. For several years they’ve contended for championships,” Coursey said. “I reached out to a couple of their coaches and told them I’ve got a guy who can help your program. They came and looked at him and really liked what they saw. They realized then they found a steal – not only in a great baseball player but a great kid. He’s got such a great work ethic. He’s somebody who can really help their program for the next few years.

“He’s definitely leaving a legacy here. Looking back at the record books and the stats from the last couple of years, he’s led the team in innings pitched, at-bats and things like that. You’re not ever going to replace those guys. You just hope another player sees him, wants to try and fill his shoes and carries it on. I hope he’s inspired some kids not necessarily try to replace him, but to try and fill the void he’s left.”

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