Drew Adams is used to being the underdog.
In high school he played for East Hall, and never finished with a winning record in his four-year career. Entering the Junior College World Series last month in Grand Junction, Colo., he led Gordon College, the tournament’s lowest seed, to a surprising third-place finish to cap a historic run for the team from Barnesville.
He doesn’t take winning for granted.
“As a freshman (at Gordon) we won a lot; it was the first time for me on a winning team since little league,” Adams said. “Being on a team like I was in high school really made me tired of losing.
“After I had my first winning year at Gordon, it just made me hungry to go to the World Series.”
Adams, who was named to the All-Conference Tournament team, stepped up his game even more in Grand Junction, hitting .500 (10 for 20) with three doubles to lead Gordon to a 3-2 record in the series.
Adams, a right fielder, won the tournament’s Rawlings Big Stick Award, given to the player with the highest batting average with a minimum of 15 at bats.
And Gordon College took down No. 9 Shelton College, No. 4 Jefferson College and No. 8 San Jacinto before its run was stopped by No. 1 Iowa Western. Gordon fell to San Jacinto in its final outing to take third.
Adams said the 20-13 win over Jefferson was the best memory from the World Series.
“A local TV station did a lot of live interviews before the game, and we saw a guy from Jefferson on there, and he said, ‘we don’t see anything special in Gordon; we’ll beat them 8-4,’” Adams remembered. “He actually predicted the score.”
Gordon responded, putting up four runs in the first, but Jefferson erupt for eight runs to take an 8-4 lead in the second. Adams, who finished with four hits, and the Highlanders ruined the prediction with seven runs in response, and Gordon wound up winning an offensive showdown to advance.
It was a great end to Adams’ two-year junior college career, a career that included tying the record for doubles in school history and helping lead Gordon to 22 wins in its last 24 regular season games. The team finished with a 40-25 record.
“It was awesome,” Adams said of the World Series run. “That’s the last things are coach said to us when we left, ‘that’s the one thing nobody can take away from us, we’re the team that set the bar for everyone coming after us.’ It’s a great feeling that I could leave after that.”
Now Adams is headed to Division I Lipscomb University in Tennessee, where he will be trying to once again fit right in on a team trying to rise in the Atlantic Sun Conference, against the likes of Georgia State and Kennesaw State.
The plan that Adams, with help from his parents and high school coach Wesley Crow, had put in place before college is paying off. Crow isn’t surprised at what is former shortstop is doing now.
“Drew’s always had a good skill set, always had fluid instincts at the plate. The kid can flat out hit, he hit .575 for me his senior season at East Hall,” said Crow, who still keeps in touch with Adams regularly. “I call him a field rat; he’s constantly at the field working to improve something.”
Adams graduated from East Hall in 2010, two years after the Vikings’ large senior Class of 2008 had graduated. But Crow said that Adams still worked hard despite the teams’ struggles.
“Drew is just a good character kid, he has such a strong character, and that’s what made him such a good player, to have such a solid foundation.
“He handled it well; I challenged Drew to be a leader, talking with the younger guys, doing the little things you needed a leader to do. He has all those intangibles you look for in a baseball player.”
Adams still comes around his alma mater, whether to do throwing sessions with his father or to watch the Vikings play, like he did on Saturday at a summer game in a Piedmont Tournament.
Crow said Drew hasn’t said yet what he wants to do after his time at Lipscomb, but that he already has the makeup to follow in Crow’s footsteps.
“He’s mentioned wanting to work with some of the younger kids,” the East Hall coach said. “I’d think he’d make a heck of a young coach.”
First Adams has the chance to make the same mark at Lipscomb as he did at Gordon. And he thinks the experience in Grand Junction, playing against a number of pitchers who wound up going high in the MLB First year Player Draft last week, will help.
“Being in the World Series and playing against some of the best pitchers is really going to help me next year,” Adams said. “Hopefully I can do the same thing I did this year.”