“I am excited to be playing college baseball,” Popham said. “It is something that I have always wanted to do.”
Concordia College in Alabama is just getting their baseball program restarted after not having one for the last two seasons.
“They actually contacted me,” Popham said. “They asked me if I have signed anywhere yet and I told them no, I am still looking. He wanted me to come down and visit. When I got down there he gave me a scholarship.”
Concordia head coach Curtis Wimberley said he is thrilled that Popham is a Hornet.
“I am excited that he is a part of our family now,” Wimberley said. “I think he has a bright future, nothing more than to perform well at this level and get an education that will benefit him in the long run.”
Wimberley said that as of right now, Popham may see time at two positions.
“I think first priority we are going to look at him as a catcher,” Wimberley said. “He may give us some help out of the bullpen.”
During his career at Victory Christian, Popham helped the Lions make the postseason twice. Former Victory Christian head coach Scotty Smith said he did a good job closing games and as a middle relief pitcher when he was a sophomore and a junior.
“He played three seasons for me,” Smith said. “This season, he hurt his arm the first time he pitched. He is a pitcher and that is what I am sure he will be. He is unique in the fact that he is a submarine style pitcher, so he will be a good relief pitcher.”
The side arm pitching motion known as submarine style pitching is something that was passed down to Popham from his father.
“I have been throwing submarine since I was born,” Popham said. “That is just the way I learned to throw the ball.”
This summer, Billy Wallace has been mentoring him.
“He has good potential,” Wallace said. “He is not hard headed. A lot times you try to tell them something they will say I know that. We got out there and messed around for a little bit and he kept saying ‘yes, I will try that.’ He would always say I will try that and that means a lot. A lot of time you tell a player to go to first base and they say I never played first base. Well, if you never tired you might like it. That is the kind of young man he is. When I tried to show him something he tried it. I told him that you don’t pick it up over night it is something that you will have to keep working with.”
Wallace said he is not going to be pleased if Popham doesn’t make the most of his opportunity in Selma.
“When I played ball the St. Louis Cardinals drafted me, but I didn’t take advantage of it. I hope he takes advantage of his opportunity, if he doesn’t he and I are going to have some problems. I have told him that already. I don’t want to go down there and he is sitting on the bench or he is not doing what he is supposed to do. I would be upset to drive to Selma to see him play.”
Smith said the Hornets coaching staff will not have to worry about Popham getting it done in the classroom.
“He always did pretty well in school,” Smith said. “I have had him in classes and he made decent grades. He didn’t have a lot of discipline problems and every one seemed to like him. I am sure that he will do fine as far as school goes. He is bright, so he will do well.”
Many people had a hand in helping Popham getting the opportunity on the next level and he said he is thankful for all of them.
“I would like to thank Mr. Wallace for helping me out with techniques,” Popham said. “I would like to thank Dr. (Carey) Camp for giving me electro therapy when I messed up my elbow. He helped me get it healed up so I can keep on playing ball. I would like to thank my grandparents (Mark and Carol Owsley). I also thank the good Lord for blessing us.”