“They won the JUCO World Series and you can’t turn that down right there,” Pate explained. “When coach (Michael) Dugan talked to me, I was verbally committed to UNA, but I had been second-guessing myself and just thinking ‘I don’t feel like that’s the place for me.’ So, I decided I would call them and let them know and within the next week, I committed to CACC. I just love what they’ve got going on down there. I really think it’s the place for me.”
CACC assistant coach Michael Dugan said it didn’t take long for him to realize Pate was the type of player his team needed.
“I saw Colton this fall at a showcase at Montevallo,” Dugan said. “He got on the mound and he threw about two pitches and right then I knew ‘Hey, this is a kid that’s got some really good arm strength. I saw him out on the field at shortstop; he had great footwork and great hands out there. The thing about him is he’s got good size and he’s athletic. We know he can do a lot of different things, not just pitch. We’re really excited about all the different things he brings to the table for us.”
Pate was a first team selection for All-County baseball the past two years while attending Lincoln. This past summer, he was considering making a move to CVA. Talking with Hudson sealed the deal.
“I knew people that went here and I knew Zack Spratlin and Ryan Garrett were coming here,” Pate said. “I really liked what they had going and how they won the state championship last year. They went back-to-back (2010-11) not too long ago. I just thought to myself ‘What better place to go than there?’ I talked to coach Hudson and he talked me into it and really helped me out.”
Hudson said he’s not at all surprised by all of Pate’s accomplishments given his athletic abilities. Pate was a key member of the CVA football team this season, earning a spot on the East squad for the AISA All Star game in Montgomery in December. The East team won the game, 42-7.
“Colton—what can I say? He’s a tremendous athlete,” Hudson said. “He could play any sport he wanted to in college. He led us in receiving this year with 28 touchdowns. That tells you a little bit about his athletic ability; tremendous leader, always a leader on the football team. He took the guys on his shoulders and led them. He’s probably one of the better athletes I’ve seen in 37 years of coaching. He had never really played football before in his life, comes out and makes All Star, did a great job in the All-Star game. It just speaks volumes about him. He’s just one of those special athletes.”
On a national level, Pate will have the opportunity to compete at the Under Armour All America baseball tournament Jan. 17-19. in Tucson, Ariz. with some of the top high school players in the nation.
Pate said as long as he puts forth his best effort on the baseball diamond, he will be pleased next year.
“Of course, everybody wants to win the World Series and all that, but I just want to go in there and say that I could do my best,” he said. “No matter what I do, I want it to be my absolute best. Dreams of the World Series—that’s in my head—and rings. I can’t think about anything else but that, but I just want to be able to say that I did my best and my best is all I can give.”
Both Pate and Dugan agreed developing a player-coach relationship was critical to Pate’s commitment to CACC.
“We came back that afternoon after Montevallo and I talked with coach (Wynn) Fletcher and I said ‘Man, I saw this kid up there that can really get it done,’” Dugan recounted. “He said ‘You need to give him a call.’ I called him up that evening and Colton and I talked two or three times that week. We continued that relationship, talking, and got him on campus for a visit and everything. He’s a great kid, real talkative and easy to get along with. We kind of knew after developing that relationship that he was going to be a really good fit for our program and that player-coach relationship is something that, especially with recruiting, is so key. We developed a trust between each other and I think that went a long way for him choosing CACC.”
Pate was grateful to all of those who helped him reach this achievement.
“I want to thank my family and my coach Jay Gibson, he has helped me tremendously,” Pate said. “I want to thank Coosa Valley for everything they’ve done for me, coach (Bobby) Permenter, my uncle Aaron Pate, and everybody. They just help me so much. It’s hard to believe what I’ve come from.”