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Bless the heart of Bill Redding, who stood up at the public hearing on rezoning lots for parking spaces east of ECU...

PREP SPOTLIGHT: Hunter Christopher

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J.H. Rose's Hunter Christopher throws a pitch during their game against D.H. Conley on April 27, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By: Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hunter Christopher recently finished his impressive baseball career with the J.H. Rose Rampants, throwing for a 0.72 ERA over 48.1 innings and racking up 39 strikeouts in his senior season. High School preps writer Jake Keator caught up with Christopher to discuss his future at N.C. State and to reflect on his time at Rose.

Q: When did you start playing ball?

A: “My dad played pro ball with the Cardinals, and played his college ball at Auburn, so I didn’t have much of a choice. I started really young, I remember being three or four and batting cross-handed in the yard. I just fell in love with the game.”

Q: Coach (Ronald) Vincent is an icon in Eastern North Carolina. What was it like working with him during your time at J.H. Rose?

A: “RV is the man. My dad played for him, so I heard stories about him from back in the day. If you’re from around Greenville or Eastern North Carolina, you know of RV. He’s been great. 

Q: Did you always find yourself as a pitcher?

A: “Actually no, when I was growing up I actually played the field and hit. I switched over when I went to Rose.” 

Q: What was it like to switch over and see the success?

A: “It was crazy. I never would have thought I would be a pitcher. I pitched when I was young in little league and travel ball, but it’s been great to see the success.”

Q: What is going to be your favorite memory of playing baseball at J.H. Rose?

A: “It’s for sure going to be the J.H. Rose practices. Coach Vincent made it fun. Sometimes at the end of the season some guys get burned out and would say, ‘I don’t want to go out here and doing this,’ but he made it so that you would wake up every day and be excited to get out there.”

Q: What was your recruiting process like?

A: In the beginning I got a few letters, but they were mostly for camps. Around sophomore year I got stuff from N.C. State and ECU and they were the two big ones I heard from. Around my sophomore summer, I started talking to Clemson and UNC. I just felt at home at State, I really liked the way they did things there, not only the baseball, but the education. My dad told me, ‘Bud, when you find the right place, you’ll feel at home and you’ll know you belong there.’ So I committed my sophomore year.”

Q: What’s it going to be like for you heading to Raleigh and coming back to Greenville to play ECU? 

A: “It’s going to be crazy. I grew up an ECU and N.C. State fan, and even now when I say ECU I say “we,” so it’s going to be a lot of fun. 

Q: What do you think is going to be the biggest challenge you’ll face once you move?

A: I think it’s going to be the pace of play. Guys in college are a lot bigger, a lot faster, and can throw a lot harder. Also, I think its going to be just adjusting, balancing getting an education, playing ball and living a normal college life.” 

Q: There are thousands of kids across the country who want to be in your situation in the future. What kind of advice would you give them?

A: “It’s going to sound cliche, but playing college baseball isn’t that big a deal. I would tell people to just keep pursuing what you want to do. I’ve wanted to do this all my life. You’re going to struggle at times, but you have to keep grinding and working and you’ll get what you work for.”

Contact Jake Keator at 252-329-9594 or jkeator@reflector.com and follow @JakeKeatorDR on twitter.

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