Crusaders take games to collegiate level

Jun. 08, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Thursday was already a big day for Montgomery Kirby and Mark Riches, two Grace Christian student-athletes on their final day as Crusader seniors.

Prior to graduation for Kirby and Riches as part of the Class of 2013, they made their college plans official. Kirby signed a baseball scholarship offer from Louisburg College. Riches accepted a scholarship to become the third Crusader in two classes to play basketball at Davis College in Johnson City, N.Y. D.J. McEachin and Elijah Buie are rising sophomores on the Falcon squad.

Kirby transferred to Grace Christian in March and is thankful for the chance to play for the Crusaders as a senior rookie.

“It was a blessing that it all worked out. It’s amazing,” said Kirby.

The tall pitcher will pitch for the Hurricanes and his goal is to move on to another college program from Louisburg.

“The coaches are great. It’s a great program, one of the best junior college programs in the country,” Kirby said.

“It makes all the hours in the weight room, all the time bonding with teammates, worth it, to get to the next level. I can’t tell you how much this means to me,” he said.

Counting the long schedule with a showcase club team out of High Point, Kirby said baseball season stretches from February to November. In the classroom, Kirby is planning on getting an associate’s degree toward an eventual ecology major.

Louisburg, in NJCAA Region X, went 34-15 overall and 17-9 in the region this spring.

Riches, an Australian native who is planning to return to Australia following his studying and playing at Davis, averaged 25.1 points, 5.3 assists and 3.8 steals per game this season for the Crusaders. Riches, at 6-foot-2, is a lanky, yet slashing and physical point guard.

Davis had a 15-12 mark last season while winning the Shenandoah Chesapeake Conference Tournament and the Bible College National Invitational Tournament.