The stage wasn’t too big for Danny Edgeworth.
He stepped up to the plate at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla., on a hot Friday evening knowing that more than just family and friends were watching. Edgeworth was batting clean-up in Mercer’s lineup as they took on host and national seed Florida State in their first contest in the NCAA regional on May 29.
It was the first time Edgeworth, a sophomore from Lambert High School in Suwanee, Ga., had ever been on television, but he said there were no nerves.
“I was just excited, honestly,” Edgeworth said. “We had a practice on the field the day before to get some of the awe out of the way. I wasn’t nervous.”
Edgeworth, facing FSU’s Mike Compton, slapped a single to center field in his first at-bat. He finished the game with two hits and a run scored. The Bears, who fell behind early 4-1, came back to tie the game. They eventually fell in 10 innings, 5-4, and then fell out of the tournament in a disappointing 1-0 loss to Auburn.
A story book season was over, but Edgeworth and the Bears left their mark. Mercer finished the season 35-23, held a 16-7 conference record and swept through four games in four days to win the Southern Conference title.
In that four-game stretch, Edgeworth led the way at the plate, going 8-for-18 with six runs scored and six RBIs, including a 4-for-6 performance with three runs and three RBIs in a 19-7 rout of the Virginia Military Institute.
Now Edgeworth’s goals are even higher as he enters the departing half of his collegiate experience down in Macon, Ga.
“I think the goal is to make it to the College World Series,” Edgeworth said. “I think we can dominate.”
Not everyone in the south, or even the state of Georgia for that matter, knows a lot about Mercer, but for those who call it home, it’s a close-knit network of students, student athletes, alumni and coaches that rivals cultures anywhere else.
“It’s not a big school. There are less than 5,000 undergrads,” Edgeworth said. “But once you get there you’re like how do people not know about this place? It’s amazing. The culture is awesome. Everybody knows everybody, and from a baseball standpoint our coach really drives that fact.”
Edgeworth says he’s built a new family at Mercer, and that the experiences there transcend the results on the diamond.
“College is a totally different experience. It’s the best time of your life,” Edgeworth said. “As a man, being on your own just really sets in that you’re not at home anymore. It matures you in a way you’ve kind of got to find things for yourself. The coaches here are kind of like my parents and the teammates, they become your family, and that is ultimately what helped us a team.”
Edgeworth started every game at third base for the Bears in his sophomore season, finishing with a batting average of .292. He finished with 62 hits, 12 doubles, a triple, six home runs and 42 RBIs. His power helped Mercer finish top-five in the country in home runs.
He’s also focused on a degree in business management, with a minor in marketing.
“The academics here are really tough,” Edgeworth said. “But it’s one of the best schools in the southeast. It’s going to really benefit me in the long run.”
Despite the college life, Edgeworth has kept close watch at what the Lambert Longhorns baseball team has accomplished in the two seasons since his departure. He said he couldn’t be more proud of the team that won a state title in 2014 and was arguably just as talented this past season, despite a disappointing exit in the first round of the state tournament.
“They’ve been great,” Edgeworth said. “I’m actually still good friends and keep in touch with a lot of those kids. They were all freshman and sophomores when I was a senior.
“I like to think I coached them up a bit. Really, everything I knew.”