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Devono headed to Salem-Teikyo

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

Gabe Devono's competitive side wasn't satisfied when his high school baseball career ended in May. When he got the opportunity to play four more years, Devono gladly accepted.

Devono made it official on Tuesday when the ex-Robert C. Byrd standout signed with Salem-Teikyo. He is the second member of the 2000 Eagles team to officially sign to play baseball.

"I really am excited to be playing four more years," Devono said. "I can't wait.

"There's a lot of freshmen coming in and there's a lot of seniors who are leaving so I should be getting some playing time."

At Robert C. Byrd, the smooth fielding second baseman was a three-year starter for coach Felix Veltri. As a co-captain on this year's team, Devono batted .313 with 23 runs scored and 21 RBIs during the regular season. Currently, he starts for the Clarksburg Moose Palomino baseball team.

He chose Salem-Teikyo over Alderson-Broaddus, Shepherd College and Ohio Valley College.

Devono said the financial support S-TU offered and the chance to possibly play immediately, were the biggest factors in his decision.

Although he expects to play at second base, he said he would be willing to lineup anywhere he could help next season.

"If there's a spot open in the infield, I'd like to try it," Devono said. "I'll play anywhere they need me.

"I haven't played any position except second since I was in Little League, but I think I could play somewhere else in the infield."

Devono reports to Salem-Teikyo on Aug. 28 and immediately begins fall baseball. Despite being a standout on the soccer field, as well, and entertaining some offers there, he said he is excited about devoting all of his time to baseball.

Among the goals he lists for his freshman season are gaining more weight and strength. Despite weighing 140 pounds during his senior season, Devono showed surprising power with four home runs. His speed helped him hit seven doubles during the regular season. However, he said his biggest strength is his defense.

Devono made official visits to Salem-Teikyo and Ohio Valley College.

"I think I can step in and play immediately," Devono said. "(The coaches) said they wouldn't redshirt me and I feel like I could make an impact next year.

"I know I've got a lot of things to work on. Basically it's going to be like starting all over again. It would be tough not playing at first, but that's what I'll do if they want me to."

With several Harrison County players already signing in with rival West Virginia Conference schools, Devono said it won't be hard to pick the intensity up where it was in high school.

"There's a lot of guys I played with and against that I'll see next year, so it's going to be a lot of fun," Devono said. "It's going to be exciting next fall and I'm just happy to be getting this chance."

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444.

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