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Brighton’s Newman signs with Motlow seven months after graduation

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Nate Newman Motlow graphic Nate Newman signingYou can go home again.
On Jan. 5, 2014 Brighton High School graduate Nate Newman gathered up old teammates, family and friends at the BHS Gymnasium for his signing ceremony. The host of the party was former Brighton Cardinal Head Baseball Coach Brian Oswalt.
After getting the Christmas present of the news of Newman’s signing to Motlow State Community College in Tullahoma, Oswalt couldn’t wait to organize the signing day for his former ace and utility player.
“Nate’s one of these guys who loves baseball,” Oswalt said. “As a coach you’re glad to have those types guys. He’s a reminder of a Jeremy White, a Colter Millican or a Joe Glass. He loves to be out there. And for him to get an opportunity late like this, I think it’s just great.
“He wanted to play but had some question marks of what he wanted to do in life. He decided he wasn’t going to play. Then he wanted to play again. Everything is great. My wife walked in one day and asked, ‘What’s wrong with you? Why are you so excited.’ I was like, ‘I got Nate signing.’”
Newman’s signing made it 5 for 5 for Oswalt’s final senior class at Brighton. Back in May Newman walked across the stage prepared to walk away from the game he has known since the age of 6.
Growing up in Haywood and Tipton counties, Newman traveled with his parents Rives and Ashley to many ball fields.
“It was about his seventh or eighth grade year,” Rives recalled, “that’s when he really started stepping up and showing out.”
“He was more aggressive,” Ashley noted. “You could tell he really had a drive for it. He moved to the outfield and got to playing pitcher and shortstop.”
During his time as a Cardinal, Newman saw action all over the field except at first base. He groomed himself into a solid catcher and No. 2 pitcher for district games.
“Some of these kids are ‘dirt bag’ players,” Oswalt said. “That’s the type of player you like because they’ll do anything in the world for you. They want to make you happy. For him to get to play is great. That was the first thing the coach up there asked me. ‘What type of player is he?’ Soon as I said dirt bag, that’s what he wants. Any coach wants guys like Nate.”
The coach who will benefit from Newman’s passion for the game is Motlow State Bucks Head Coach Dan McShea.
The 2014 Bucks finished 40-24, finished as runner-up in the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament, and advanced to the NJCAA East Central District Tournament.
McShea is Motlow’s longest tenured coach, set to begin his ninth season when the 2015 season opens in early spring. His all-time record is 198-211-1.
Newman said he is ready to contribute to the Bucks winning ways wherever Coach McShea needs him. Ashley said from the field to home, her son works hard to make the lives of his teammates and family easier.
“He’s a people pleaser — most of the time,” she said. “He’s very protective especially of his sister (Shelton). He’s the greatest big brother you could ask for. He takes his little brother (Carson) hunting. He’s a very family oriented kid. He loves his family and he loves being with his family. He’s a home body and that’s his main thing. If you don’t have family, you don’t have anything.”
Rives said his son missed his second family home, baseball over the past few months.
“It’s a second shot at it,” he said. “He really understands it doesn’t come around to often — a second chance. It’s a chance to go off and play college ball somewhere. He’s excited and we’re very proud of him.
“Hopefully it’s a step in his future, one he’s always wanted,” Rives added. “Hopefully it’s a stepping stone for his future.”
Ashley said her son will give 100 percent and have no regrets now that he has a second chance to play college baseball.
“I missed it too much,” Nate said. “I missed it a lot. I love everything about the game, being out there and getting dirty.
“It means a lot to me,” he concluded. “It makes me feel like I’m having success in my life and being a good role model.”

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