Donner looks forward to flying as an Eagle
MANILA He conquered the basketball court for coach Anthony Brewington, professed his position behind the plate for coach Stratmoen, and now, Manila's Adam Donner will take his athletic skills west to Walnut Ridge and begin building his baseball talents behind coach Katrosh.
Two weeks ago, Donner, a 2002 graduate of Manila High School, made the Williams Baptist College Eagle baseball team after attending one of several tryouts held by WBC head coach John Katrosh.
"This is a great opportunity for me," Donner said recently during an interview in Manila after a morning of working on his family's cotton farm in Mississippi County.
"Coach Katrosh seems like a great man and I look forward to learning more of the game by playing under him."
Donner, a Manila native, has played all four years of his high school career on Manila's varsity baseball and basketball teams. In his freshman year at MHS, Donner played all nine positions on the baseball field, although according to him, he tried to stay off of the pitching mound as much as he could.
"I just never felt comfortable as a pitcher," he said.
Staying off of the pitching rubber, Donner made his home on the opposite end of the battery, holding down the Lion catching slot since his sophomore year.
"In tenth grade, I caught about 50% of the time," he said. "The rest of my playing time was spent in the outfield."
Donner caught every game for Manila during his junior year and played some games at the shortstop position in addition to more catching in his senior year.
"I've had the great opportunity to catch some now-college pitchers," he added. "I've caught (Manila graduate) Doug Lester who's now at Dyersburg State and also Brandon DeHart, who is also pitching at DSU. Those were some of the highlights of my days at Manila."
Other highlights of Donner's career at Manila was defeating Piggott and East Poinsett County during the 2001 NEA basketball tournament at ASU.
"Nobody thought we could do that, but we did," he said.
Donner began playing baseball at the age of four, playing T-ball, and learning the game of baseball behind his older brother, Heath.
"Heath loved baseball. I never really got into it much until I got into high school, then I started loving the game. I started playing senior Babe Ruth and began learning more and more about the game because of Heath. He taught me the mind stuff' about the game, and since then, I've really been into it."
Heath Donner graduated from MHS in 1998.
"The things I learned from my brother really helped me get to where I'm at today. Just being around him made me love the game of baseball."
Donner received an ACT scholarship to attend WBC due to his score of 25 on the ACT test. Additionally, he received a Hammon's scholarship which will provide the bulk of his college tuition expenses. Although he is not receiving any funds to play for WBC this coming season, he hopes he will in the future.
"Coach told me that if I keep improving, there may be some monetary rewards in my future years," he said.
The well-mannered Donner said he competed against 15 other athletes during his tryout at WBC. Coach Katrosh held four tryouts to fill positions for his upcoming season.
"The tryouts were hard," Donner said. "They tested my arm strength, pop-time, running and other things. A lot of timed stuff. We had some game situations and had a chance to bat against live pitching. It was a lot different than high school practices."
Donner has been named All-Conference the past two years in baseball and was also honored by making the Babe Ruth All-Star teams the past two years.
"Coaches Brewington and Stratmoen were very influential in me getting this opportunity," he said. "They told coach Katrosh about my work ethic and helped me out a lot.
"I look forward to playing at WBC because it is close to home, they have a great coach and I can get the opportunity to study what I want Christian Ministry."
In Donner's spare time he enjoys watching his sister, 10-year old Katie, play softball; working on the family farm and spending time with his girlfriend, Carrie Hembrey.
"I appreciate all that my past coaches have done for me," Donner added, "They taught me how to work hard and keep it up to improve in the future."
Donner also said his sports hero is catcher Mike Metheny of the St. Louis Cardinals.
"He is a good catcher and a very Godly man."