Long Beach, Miss. (WLOX) - Gulfport shortstop Cade Crosby continues the pipeline of Admirals to Hattiesburg as he announced his commitment to Southern Miss Sunday.
However, when he puts on that black and gold uniform for the first time, he not only makes the transition from fan to player, but he will also add a new chapter to the family legacy.
“Four and a half hours to an hour drive, just being closer to family,” Crosby told WLOX. “I have a lot of friends, my brother is there, so that’s a big part of it.”
Recent Gulfport graduate, Cade Crosby, had every intention on playing in Birmingham, signing to play baseball for Samford. Seven months later, he gets an opportunity from his dream school, Southern Miss, a program he grew up watching.
“Running on the field after the game trying to get a towel or gloves from a big, 6′5″ defensive lineman. Now I might have the opportunity to sign all that,” Crosby said. “I’ve got to work on my signature now and all that, so I’m just really looking forward to it.”
At the root of Cade’s fandom is family. His father, Matt, suited up for the Golden Eagles as a pitcher from 1992 to 1993 and couldn’t be prouder of his baby boy.
“Really a dream come true. We lived in Oak Grove, Hattiesburg, right outside of Hattiesburg for about five years when he was six through 11 maybe?” Matt Crosby told WLOX.
“Didn’t let him where any other colors growing up, it was all black and gold, had to be Southern Miss. Once we got on campus, you put up all that stuff or you run for Coach Hill Denson and you didn’t want to run for Coach Denson.”
Had it not been for COVID-19, Cade would have remained a Samford Bulldog. Major League Baseball shorten it’s draft from 40 rounds to only five, causing a lot of draft hopefuls to stay another year in college. The domino effect of that changed the terms of Cade’s scholarship.
“Going to the school where he was going at first had at least six draft picks. So when they went to the five rounds it really made a big difference with him going to Samford,” Matt Crosby explained. “Both middle infielders were going to go between the first seven to twelve rounds. A lot of things are based off scholarship-wise in baseball because you only have 11.3, so everybody doesn’t get a full ride. His scholarship ended up costing us a full year of tuition instead of him getting on a certain scholarship. We regrouped, he had to make a tough phone call, then people found out that he was free again. So this worked out really good.”
Matt admits that Cade is a better athlete than he was at his age and that playing football for the Admirals helped his footwork on the diamond. Unafraid of following in his father’s footsteps, Cade is eager to prove he has what it takes to put on a show at Pete Taylor Park.
“First thing he told me was, ‘just because I went to Southern you don’t have to go to Southern'. I was like yeah I get that, but you know I’ve always been a Southern Miss fan,” Cade told WLOX.
“Just me and him working all the time, just about six out of seven days a week really and just hitting for about an hour, hour and a half. Him throwing to me about 300 balls after three Tommy John surgeries and everything. Putting that wear and tear on him and just fights for him to come out here and spend time with me and trying to get me better.”
“Him becoming a Golden Eagle has just been a blessing. We can wear our black and gold, we can go to football games, we don’t have to go to Birmingham now,” Matt said. “I love Samford, I love the coaching staff, they are so good. They’ve got a great program, but Southern Miss is home.”
Cade arrives on campus on August 12th and will compete for one the middle infield positions next spring.