Forsyth Central pitcher Mitchell Gross is slated to make his first varsity start when the baseball season begins in the spring. He’ll be representing two breeds of Bulldogs when he takes the mound.
Gross, a sophomore lefthander, committed to the University of Georgia on Thursday after a brief visit earlier in the week. At 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, he’s still got plenty of room to grow, but the SEC still came calling in the late summer.
“They offered me on Wednesday, and it wasn’t a very hard decision,” Gross said. “The freshmen there now are very good. I feel like they are a program on the rise, they have some newer coaches there and I saw one of their scrimmages that was really up-beat, high energy. That’s how I am too.”
Gross said he built a strong connection with pitching coach Fred Corral, who even sat with him at the Georgia-Georgia Tech football game. The courtship by Georgia outweighed offers from Furman and Mississippi State. Gross was also recruited by Auburn, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, North Georgia and junior college Florida Southwestern, led by former Lambert High School head coach Jamie Corr.
Gross averages an 86-mph fastball but has hit in the low 90s, according to PerfectGame.com. He possesses three pitches.
“I think I throw pretty hard from the left side,” Gross said. “I also compete with every single batter.”
Gross is the second Central pitcher to make an early commitment to an SEC school. Before last season Ethan Hankins—then a sophomore—committed to Vanderbilt.
Gross will step into Central’s pitching rotation with the departure of Parker Morrison and Ryu Head. He says he’s still excited to finally play varsity ball, even though he’s recently had an eye on his future.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be committed, but I’m not settling,” Gross said. “I want to always work towards getting better, becoming a professional, and even just getting varsity starts is a big part of that. We want to win state, and that’s what my goal is right now. That’s what our goal is.”
Central finished 24-6 last season, falling to South Effingham in heartbreaking fashion.