By Grant Stevens - Sports Editor
Dec. 12, 2012 — It is every high school athlete's dream to play at the next level.
For senior Raider infielder Derek Keller, son of Damon and Allison Keller of Grayson, this was a dream that came true as he signed on Thursday afternoon to suit up in orange and white for the University of Pikeville.
Originally a transfer from Rose Hill, Keller arrived at East Carter his freshman year and has devoted his free time to suiting up in Raider blue for one of the area’s top baseball programs, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA at ECHS.
Jeremiah Shearer, East Carter baseball coach, had nothing but high marks for his senior player.
"Pikeville is getting a top notch kid," Evans said. "He is a kid of high character, high morals and he will work as hard as anybody out there. He’s a Christian young man who has his life straight, and I think he’s going to accomplish great things up there."
A member of the NAIA, Pikeville is a school with a strong history consisting of top-notch academic programs.
Keller, the 12th East Carter baseball college signee since 2005, said he feels honored to have the opportunity of suiting up for the Bears in 2013-2014.
"I’m really excited about it, and it took a lot of work.” Keller said. "I feel very blessed, and anything I’ve ever accomplished, it goes back to God. I will take this opportunity to further his will.”
The senior also provided an insightful look into what he hopes is an optimistic future, saying UPike’s medical program was a big player in his commitment.
"Ever since I was small, I wanted to be a medical missionary,” Keller said. “I was initially looking a Pikeville because of their strong medical program. It’s really awesome that God worked it out so that I could play baseball and look to a possible career in the medical field. I’m really not sure what I want to specialize in, but God will open the doors and make a path."
Keller closed by thanking those who have supported him throughout the years, who’ve helped to make his dreams come true.
“I want to thank my family and my friends, and I want to thank everybody that’s here to support me. Tim and Tammy, Virgil and my brother (Josh Keller). Then there’s my coaches, but I want to thank God most importantly, because he’s the real reason I am here. My biggest thanks goes up to him.”
Grant Stevens can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 784-4116.