Douglas County’s Tyler Gaines made the commitment to Reinhardt University on Dec. 18 to play baseball for the Eagles. Gaines said he had a few other options he was looking at but that Reinhardt was the right move for him. Reinhardt is a four year, private school, which Gaines says, fit his financial needs.

“It has a high teacher to student teaching ratio and a good baseball program. They are good people,” Gaines said.

Gaines will be joining former teammate, David Ihrig at Reinhardt.

“I know David real well, for about four or five year’s, and we are really close,” Gaines said. “It is an advantage to know someone you are going to be around for the next few years.”

Gaines accepted a partial academic/athletic scholarship to pitch for the Eagles. Reinhardt is coached by Kevin Howard, who enters his second season at the helm. He is assisted by Brady Wiederhold, who is also in his second year.

Reinhardt made it all the way to the Appalachian Athletic Conference Championship game last season before losing an extra inning heartbreaker, 3-2, to Milligan. The school finished the year with a program record 34 wins.

Gaines said he has had a chance to talk to Howard, and described the coach as happy, straight forward, and a nice guy.

“He is looking forward to seeing me play and seemed excited about it,” Gaines added. “He only recruited two high school kids this summer. He has mostly recruited out of Junior Colleges and other four year schools. I am honored, and I think I have a chance to start the first year.”

Most high school kids go to college looking to get a degree in something, though they usually are not sure what until their second year. Gaines has known what he wanted to do since he was a kid.

“I am majoring in criminology and then I want to pursue a law degree and become a prosecutor,” he said. “II always had a particular interest to be a cop, but I decided I want to be a little something higher up and still do good for the community.”

Gaines, who will play for his third DCHS coach this spring, has enjoyed his time at the high school.

“I love Douglas County. It is a great school with great people,” he said. “Being able to play baseball was great and it is a good group of kids all around.”

During his DC tenure, Gaines has played for Eric McAfee, Alex Duhaime and now John Cunningham.

“Mac-Mac was a great coach and worked us hard. Duhaime was really excited about coaching and he poured his heart into it,” Gaines said. “We have been out to conditioning with Cunningham, and we will see how it goes in the season. He played college baseball, like the previous two, and aways wanted to coach baseball since he started hear, and now he will get the opportunity. He seems like he is legit.”

Gaines played baseball over the summer for Team Elite. His love of the sport was evident to his new coach since his ninth grade year.

“I knew Tyler as a freshman. He was in my advisement and he was very focused on baseball, excited about baseball from the time he got here,” Cunningham said. “It is interesting to see him now, not having interacted with him much over the last four years. He is still focused on the game and is a leader on the team.”

Gaines added that he loves every aspect of the game.

“Pitching is what I have always wanted to do since I was younger. Now I get to play at the collegiate level. Not many people get to do that.”

“It is always good when a person who loves the sport gets an opportunity to keep playing at the next level,” Cunningham said. “When you decide what school you want to go to, and that school wants you as well, there is some security there. It is great having that going into his senior season. Now he can just relax and focus on getting better for them.”

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