Manning signs with Tennessee Wesleyan

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By Goose Lindsay

Good left-handed pitchers are hard to find, but Tennessee Wesleyan College landed one last week as Midway senior Josh Manning signed scholarship papers with the Bulldogs.

“I'm every excited,” Manning said following Wednesday's signing. “Playing college baseball is something I've wanted to do since I was little.”

“I'm elated for Josh,” Midway head coach Darrell Ruffner added. “He's been a cornerstone of Midway's baseball program since his freshman year. Josh is a very intelligent player with a good work ethic and that should help him be successful at the next level.” 

Manning plays first base and pitcher for the Green Wave. 

As a hitter, Manning makes good contact and isn't afraid to go with the pitch.

“I think the best thing about my hitting is that I'm able to drive the ball to all field,” Manning said.

“Josh has a good eye and has been a great hitter for us,” Ruffner added.

While Manning has the ability to be a solid hitter and fielder in college, it's his left arm that is what the Bulldogs like best. Manning is a complete pitcher on the mound with good velocity and control of three pitches.

“Josh's biggest attribute is that he's a left-handed pitcher and that's where I think that's what's going to make him a good college player,” Ruffner said. “He's a complete pitcher. He can hit his spots and he changes speeds really well.”

“I think I do a good job of keeping hitters off-balance,” Manning added. “My curve ball is probably my best pitch, but I also have a good fastball and change-up. I try to set hitters up by changing speeds.”

However, before Manning heads off to college, he knows he has things to work on.

“I've got to work on becoming mentally tougher,” Manning said. “I've also got to get stronger.”

Ruffner thinks that getting stronger will definitely make him a better college player.

“I think once he gets to school that they'll add 20 to 25 pounds on him and that's going to make him a better player,” he said.

Besides playing baseball, Manning is also excited about getting an education at Tennessee Wesleyan. With an average class size of 15, Tennessee Wesleyan makes Manning feel at home.

“I really like Tennessee Wesleyan because it's a small school and it's close to home,” he said. “I plan on majoring in history and becoming a teacher and maybe a coach.”

Manning even joked that he might come back to his alma mater. 

 “I might even be able to come back one day and take Coach Ruffner's place.”