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BASEBALL: Tanner Hill looking to swing for the fences at Cleveland State

By Scott Herpst sherpst@npco.comMay 19, 2019

Tanner Hill said he’s not sure yet what position he will play at Cleveland State Community College next season, but he should have plenty of options.

The Ridgeland two-sport senior athlete, who recently signed his letter of intent with the Cougars, said he isn’t worried about where he will play, as long as he keeps hitting.

“(Cleveland State’s) main thing is, if you’re hitting, you’re going to be in the field somewhere,” Hill explained. “Lately they’ve been saying that they like me as a power guy, so I hope I’m able to come up there, drive the ball into the outfield and score some runs.”

Hill, who played all eight defensive positions and pitched for the Panthers during his prep career, knows a little thing or two about hitting.

He was named first team All-Region as a sophomore after hitting .370 with eight doubles, three triples, two homers and 12 RBIs. He followed up with another All-Region selection as a junior when he batted an even .400 with five doubles, a triple, four homers and 28 RBIs to go with 28 runs scored and 28 stolen bases.

Then as a senior, he picked up All-Region first team honors for a third time as he ended his prep career by hitting .373 with four doubles, two triples, seven homers and 32 RBI, while adding 24 runs and 18 stolen bases. He was also a finalist for this year’s Vonn Bell Award at the school.

“He’s played every single position for us and, sometimes, I think he’s tried to coach too,” Ridgeland head coach Scott Harden chuckled. “He can definitely play anywhere on the field.”

Hill, who was also a second team All-Region pick as a football player last fall, said he was happy to sign with Cleveland State.

“It’s nice to finally get it out of the way now that I finally found somewhere to go,” he said. “It took a little while to find out what I wanted to do, but I’m glad I got it figured out. The coach that I talked to (at Cleveland State) really seemed interested in me. When we went on the (campus) tour, he talked about how he could develop me as a person and as a player and that really stuck out and grabbed me. I knew that was the place I wanted to be.”

Harden called Hill “honest and loyal”.

“He’s one of those guys that will give you 110 percent and sometimes 120, although there were a few times when we had to tell him to dial it back to about 110, but they’re getting the full package when they get him,” the coach added. “I think it’ll be a good place where he can mature and grow and I think he’ll do even bigger things from there.”

Harden said that he was excited to see another of his players move on to the next level.

“Tanner’s been a big part of this program, really since he was about three years old,” he explained. “We’re going to miss him dearly next year, but he can do anything he wants to do at the next level, that’s for sure.”

Hill said he is considering focusing on general studies during his two years at Cleveland State before he hopes to transfer to a four-year college.

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