LAURINBURG — Scotland baseball standout Cross Holfert will sport a new shade of blue after he graduates from high school this spring.
The 6-foot, 175-pound senior put pen to paper inside Scotland’s media center Friday, officially signing with the University of South Carolina Lancaster.
“I felt real comfortable, it was just like another home to go play ball,” Holfert said after inking the paperwork.
Holfert joins a program coached by Steve Williams. The Lancers are a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association, and they compete in the Carolinas Junior College Conference.
Holfert mentioned that he felt at ease when he visited the campus, which is located almost two hours southwest of Laurinburg.
“The most that stood out to me was the coach,” he said. “He just seemed like somebody that could work with me real well and send me on to the next level. I met some players on the team and they said they really liked everything down there, so everything was good and everything felt right.”
USC Lancaster finished 31-18 a season ago and compiled an 18-8 record in conference play. Holfert said the Lancers plan to use him in the outfield, but the coaching staff has not yet specified which defensive position he will line up at.
While he is a little nervous about moving away from home, Holfert expects the transition to be eased by a pair of familiar faces. He pointed out that two players from his travel team are expected to join him on the squad next season.
For now, Holfert and the Scots are set to embark on a new era under first-year coach Chad Hill. Hill was hired in July after former coach Jamie Coleman resigned following an 11-8 campaign. Hill previously coached at Union Pines for nine years, and directed the Vikings to two Cape Fear Valley regular season championships during his tenure.
The 2015 all-Southeastern Conference performer said the team has worked harder this offseason under the direction of its new leader than it has at any other point during his career.
“It feels more like baseball now, we’re doing more and I think we’ll be real good this year,” Holfert said.
Scotland finished third in the SEC and earned a spot in the North Carolina 4A playoffs a season ago, but its season was derailed by blown leads late in games. Holfert said “finishing” has been a point of emphasis this winter as they prepare for the coming year.
While Holfert realizes this is the final season he’ll be able to don Scotland blue and red, his mindset hasn’t changed since he first arrived on campus as a freshman.
“I’ve approached it the same ever since ninth grade because I’ve given it everything I’ve had since my ninth-grade year,” he said. “So really, nothing has changed. I just want to keep producing like I’ve been doing and just keeping better and better.”
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.