Senior Emmanuel College Pitcher Blaine Seagraves wins the prestigious 2013 Hank Burbridge Unlimited Potential’s Outstanding Christian Leadership Award from the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).
This is a first for any Emmanuel College student athlete.
“I’m honored to represent Emmanuel College in this way, and this is a complete culmination of my experience the last four years," Seagraves says. "Coach [Aaron] Brister gave me a shot when no one else would and has always challenged me to know who I am both on and off the field. It is safe to say the fruits of the Emmanuel College community have allowed me finish my time at Emmanuel on such a high note. I could not be more proud to be an Emmanuel College student, athlete and alumni.
"Growing up 10 minutes from Emmanuel, I certainly never intended to spend my collegiate years there," Seagraves continues. "The Lord had different plans. Using baseball, He opened the door for me to attend the small college in Franklin Springs that I have grown to love. By surrounding me with obedient servants of Christ such as Chris Maxwell, Tracy Reynolds, Scott Ellington, Tony Moon, Mike Luper and Harold Rhoades, I became challenged to approach every opportunity in this life as a way to glorify our Heavenly Father whether that be on a baseball field, in a classroom, in relationships or in ministry. Those men and many others have been extremely flexible with the responsibilities that come with being a student-athlete.
"My time at Emmanuel may be up, but the service and mission of the college will move on with me wherever life takes me. I do not view this as an individual accomplishment, but an accomplishment that represents the commitment of our college to Christ, above all else," he says.
The very demanding criteria for this award includes a vibrant and clear Christian testimony on and off the field, outstanding performance on the field, a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, and an unlimited potential for serving Christ through athletics, leadership opportunities, local fellowship, sports evangelism and other Christian organizations. This award honors long time NCCAA and NAIA baseball coach and mentor Hank Burbridge. It is sponsored by Unlimited Potential, Inc., an organization ministering to baseball groups around the world with the idea of serving Christ through baseball.
As Seagraves played his senior season this year, he became a very reliable stretch-innings pitcher who can also be called on as a closer. He has been a workhorse out of the EC bullpen throwing 67.2 innings while collecting six wins and two saves in his 18 appearances this season.
His leadership qualities include serving as a captain of the baseball team, FCA at his high school, school chaplain, and Christian service officer in the EC School of Christian Ministries. He has also been on a mission trip with Coach Brister to the Dominican Republic. His current GPA this season is 4.0 with a cumulative 3.83 GPA as he graduates this year with a B.S. in Christian Ministries. Seagraves currently serves as the senior pastor at Sandy Creek Baptist Church in Athens, Ga., which involves preaching on Sundays, hospital visits and community outreach while still having a successful baseball season.
"Blaine Seagraves is an amazing person, student and athlete," says Dr. Tracy Reynolds, Dean of EC's School of Christian Ministries. "There is none more deserving than Blaine for his latest honor. The School of Christian Ministries at Emmanuel College is proud to call him one of our own."
This week, Seagraves and the rest of the Lions are playing in the NCCAA World Series in Ohio.