Trace Bright, in his own words, was smiling from ear to ear on Friday, fulfilling a lifelong dream by signing a letter of intent to play baseball at Auburn University.
“There were a few other SEC schools,” Bright said. “It was a hard decision, obviously, but I had to go back to my roots. I was an Auburn fan growing up.”
Bright became the third Trinity Presbyterian player to sign with a Southeastern Conference program in the school’s history, joining catcher Bobby Huddleston (Auburn) and infielder Collin Holder (Auburn).
“It’s always a great opportunity for our school for a kid to go to the Division I-A level and you hope they’ll come see us a little more,” Trinity coach Ken Whittle said. “Baseball is one sport where classifications really don’t matter.”
Bright started his career with the Wildcats as a freshman first baseman before taking the mound as a sophomore. Our of necessity, he moved to catcher and alternated between catcher and pitcher the last two years.
“I’ve always loved pitching and playing other positions, but I think it’ll be fun and a new challenge to focus only on pitching once I get over there,” Bright said.
Prior to his junior season, he attracted attention from college coaches at a summer showcase, earning a quick offer from Auburn coach Butch Thompson.
“It surprised me that it all came on kind of quick,” he said. “You set goals, but you don’t always fulfill them. This was a goal that I fulfilled. That’s what I would say to younger kids: have dreams of playing college baseball.”
Whittle said Bright’s ability at Auburn’s baseball camps and others during his time on travel ball teams gave him the exposure he needed to attract a major college offer.
“Having the exposure that Trace has had, hopefully through his high school career but also through travel ball, I think that exposure is a big deal,” Whittle said. “Also, going to Auburn’s camp and other camps around the state, you get exposed.”
Bright is one of three Trinity players signing, along with infielder Chantz Henry, who will sign on Monday with Lawson State Community College, and pitcher Camden Lovrich, who will sign on Tuesday with Jacksonville State. With Bright’s signing out of the way, he said he can focus on his upcoming senior season with the Wildcats.
“Our high school goal is obviously to win a state championship at the end of the year,” he said. “We have to focus on what’s at hand and not think too far ahead.”