For the last few seasons, Central High School's Hayden Skipper has put on a show for fans of the school's baseball team, especially on the pitcher's mound. As of Friday, Nov. 15, the Red Raider ace will officially be taking his game to the college level.
Skipper signed a letter of intent with Nashville's Lipscomb University to begin play in the 2020-21 academic year.
"I'm extremely excited to be able to play at the next level and can't wait to get started and get going up there," Skipper said. "But we've got a long high school season in front of us I'm super excited for and I think we'll do great."
Skipper, who is preparing for his senior season with CHS, will wrap up a productive career as a Raider. A two-way player with skills at both the mound and at the plate, he is also a position player with other fielding roles.
Skipper was also the No. 1 ranked left-handed pitcher in the state and the second player in CHS program history chosen to represent Team Tennessee at last summer's Junior Sunbelt Classic in Oklahoma.
"He is everything you want your program to represent and you want him to be the face of your program," CHS coach David Martin said. "His will to compete brings an energy to his teammates that elevates everyone's game. He is truly a coach on the field but holds himself accountable as he does his teammates."
Skipper had previously been verbally committed to the University of Louisville before de-committing earlier this year.
College baseball was something Skipper said he always thought was a possibility, but was never sure on it until the last couple of years. He emphasized that he would not have been able to continue at the next level without the support he received over the course of his development.
"Really to be honest with you, it just kind of happened," Skipper explained. "I've just been blessed with many people that's helped guide me to where I am today."
The Lipscomb Bisons play in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Sun Conference and finished the 2019 season with a 30-25 overall record. Skipper explained that during his official visit, everything from the program to the school itself helped him realize this was the right place.
He plans to major in business once he is enrolled.
"Everthing just felt right," Skipper said. "All the coaches, they seemed genuine. The campus vibe and everything up there, it just felt right."
Skipper was thankful for his family, coaches and teammates for helping him reach this point. His family members added that they were happy Skipper would be a little closer to home than Louisville, but were just thrilled to see his hard work pay off, no matter where he went.
"We're excited about it and our goal has always been to prepare him to take advantage of whatever opportunities come," Richard Skipper said. "That's really all that you can do."