Josh Suiter knew that when it came time to decide on a college, it was going to be a family decision.

Then once the decision was made, there was another matter — getting all his family and friends together to celebrate that decision.

The day finally came on Wednesday as Suiter joined with family, friends and coaches to announce his plans to play baseball at University of the Cumberlands.

“This got backed up because coaches were out of town and we were trying to get everything put together,” Suiter said. “But it means a lot that you have friends’ support and family support.”

Suiter said the entire process had really taken a toll from the beginning of the season and he was happy to have his college plans finalized.

The family-oriented Suiter also said the decision of college was a real wake-up call as to what goes on as a grown-up.

“You always envision getting out of high school and going to college, but once the time comes, you don’t really have any plans as to where you want to go and what I want to do with life,” Suiter said. “Parents start talking about being on your own and being on a budget. You can’t just go to them and say ‘Hey, can I have $20?’ There is just so much more you have to plan out, but I think I’m ready.”

Suiter said that his choice came down to two schools: UC, which already has a solid baseball program in place, and Asbury, which is building a program from scratch with several local players.

The Russell pitcher even said that it got to the point where he just wanted to hear an offer and get the process out of the way.

That is where UC stepped in.

“I was leaning between there and Asbury — both Christian-based schools,” Suiter said. “I talked to both coaches a lot, but it was more who was going to offer the quickest because I was getting antsy.”

UC sent an assistant down to scout Suiter against East Carter in Russell’s home finale, but the game was rained out. Suiter still got his innings that night, auditioning in the school’s gymnasium.

After the indoor performance, Suiter said it was soon after that he heard back, thus beginning the process toward becoming a Patriot.

Even in making his decision, Suiter stuck to his family-first ideals.

“Coach Shelton got back to me within a week and when we got the financial offer, it took a burden off my parents, which was big,” Suiter said. “It seemed like everything fit for everyone and it’s a good program, so that was good for me.”

Now that the selections process has ended and the ink has dried on his letter of intent, Suiter is eager to get to work preparing for the season at UC where he will join Ashland players Brandon Williams and Phillip Paris.

In addition to the off-field changes in Suiter’s life, the pitcher will also have to get used to a new catcher after having spent years with Aaron Beekman.

“The main things will be getting to know a new catcher,” Suiter said. “Getting to know him and him getting to know me is going to be a big thing. Me and Beek — he’s caught me since Major League and all through Babe Ruth and All-Stars right on up. You have to learn to rely on people.”

Suiter wanted to thank his coaches for helping him get to the collegiate level, acknowledging that while the player gets the rewards, the coaches put in a lot of work as well.

“(Russell) Coach (Mike) Martino put in a lot of time and effort with paperwork to get into showcases and camps,” Suiter said. “That is where Asbury saw me and Cumberland heard of me through Asbury. It means a lot when your coaches help you get that kind of exposure.”

Martino was also on hand to celebrate, saying that Suiter is the type of kid that coaches love to see succeed and move to the next level. Even though neither was in uniform, Martino got his final say in as Suiter’s coach.

“I know this is a proud moment for Josh’s family and our school,” Martino said. “I hope Josh, with all the tools you have and gifts you have been given, you use them to your best.”

After Martino’s speech, Suiter and teammates quickly took part in refreshments and cake while laughing about various memories from high school.

It was exactly how Suiter wanted to celebrate his final time with his extended family at Russell.

“I’ve been blessed a lot through this summer and this season,” Suiter said. “All these people are the main reasons I’m where I am at today.”

GRANT TRAYLOR can be reached at gtraylor@dailyindependent.com or (606)326-2646.

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