GMC Prep senior Justin Alford believes he has found the perfect college for himself — one with a scenic setting, that will allow him to continue growing spiritually and also give him the opportunity to keep playing the sport he loves.
Alford made the decision for his future official Wednesday when he signed to play baseball at Covenant College, a Division III school competing in the USA South Conference whose members include Georgia institutions LaGrange College and Piedmont College. Covenant, a private liberal arts college, is located in Lookout Mountain, Ga. along the Tennessee border.
Alford told The Union-Recorder Wednesday that he began looking at Covenant College, not because of baseball, but because it checked off two important boxes pertaining to his college search. One, he wanted to attend a Christian college, and second he wanted that college to be in the mountains. With Covenant, Alford gets both along with the added bonus of playing baseball
“When I went there for the first time I knew it was perfect for me,” Alford said, noting that visit took place about a year ago. “I met the coaches and ate lunch with them. They seemed to like me a lot and I really liked them.”
Serving largely in a utility role defensively, Alford has been a fixture atop the GMC Prep lineup throughout his varsity baseball career. His current head coach Rusty Courson said his latest college signee has played every position on the field except first base in his first three years. Alford’s role will be more focused in his senior campaign as you’ll find him playing right up the middle — either shortstop, pitching or in centerfield depending on which player is on that mound that day. Last season he hit for a .308 average with 21 RBI and was among the top on-base percentages on the team at .485.
Courson, who referred to the signee a “leader by example” for his Bulldogs, believes Alford’s versatility will serve him well at the next level.
“I think this is an awesome opportunity for Justin,” Courson said. “I think this is more of a spiritual journey for him. I know he’s always wanted to continue playing collegiate baseball, and luckily he’s found that spot where he’s going to fit in. I’ve coached him since he was in seventh grade and you always knew he was going to go somewhere.”
The Covenant College Scots are set to begin their 2020 season next month. Last year they finished with a 17-22 overall record and 9-13 mark in USA South play. That conference record was good enough to land Covenant a spot in the conference tournament where the Scots upset No. 1 Piedmont before later being knocked out.
Alford is the second GMC Prep baseball player to sign to the next level under Courson, the first was Class of 2018 grad Cory Bivins who now plays ball at North Greenville University in South Carolina. Alford lives with his family in Gray and has attended GMC Prep since the start of sixth grade. He and the Bulldogs are scheduled to hit the baseball field Monday for the first official day of practice in preparation for the 2020 varsity season.