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Lipscomb duo charts path to the Giants together

Monday, June 18, 2007

June 18, 2007

By Nate Rau, Sports Correspondent June 18, 2007

After the San Francisco Giants drafted the Lipscomb duo earlier this month, it would have been easy to believe that John King and Casey Bond are some sort of package deal - you can't have one without the other.

But this is simply not the case. In fact it is actually a profound coincidence that King and Bond, from the same town of Peachtree City, Ga., have ended up on the same team three times in a row.

King, a hulking 6-3 pitcher, prepped at McIntosh High in Peachtree, while Bond, a heady center fielder, played for rival Starrs' Mill High.

Independent from one another, the two made the college choice to play at Birmingham Southern. For three years, it was smooth sailing through calm seas as the teammates enjoyed their time playing for the Panthers.

But then, a year ago, King and Bond had their baseball futures put in limbo when the new Birmingham Southern president decided to drop the athletic programs from NCAA Division I to Division III. The baseball team was disbanded for a year, leaving King and Bond without scholarships.

"We didn't know what to do, we began looking for a place to play," King said. "I'd talk to a coach and say, `Hey do you need an outfielder, because I know of one.' And Casey would do the same for me."

New Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand needed both a pitcher and an outfielder. He offered them scholarships, hoping for the best but not really counting on landing both players.

"I was hands-off with them, just kind of laid-back," Forehand said. "I didn't put on the full court press. Adding them gave us some experience and senior leadership."

With just one year of eligibility left, the Peachtree City duo picked Lipscomb and went about the task of making the most of their final season playing college baseball.

Bond started all 58 games for Lipscomb and hit .326. Used in a variety of roles for the Bisons pitching staff, King was 0-3 with a .579 ERA. They also helped Lipscomb take a step forward as it qualified for the Atlantic Sun tournament for the first time in the programs history.

When the draft rolled around, both players expected to be picked but didn't know where or who would select them. King went first, as he was selected in round No. 17 by the Giants.

"I was just watching the draft on the computer with my Mom," King said. "When we saw my name, we just jumped around and were really happy."

Eight rounds later, the Giants took Bond, uniting the pair once again.

"For Casey and John, as close friends as they are and for all the stuff they've been through, it probably couldn't have worked out any better," Forehand said. "I was just so happy and excited for those guys."

Now Bond and King are teammates again, this time in Scottsdale, Ariz., for tryouts to determine where their professional careers will begin.

"The goal is to make the Class A team [the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in Salem, Ore.]," King said. "It probably is a benefit that we have each other to go to while we go through this process. We can talk to each other and be a supporter for each other."

Original Source: The Nashville City Paper