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Willingham becomes first-ever Parson to make MLB debut

Amos Willingham has officially made it to The Show.

Willingham, 24, of Rome, Georgia, is a relief pitcher prospect for the Washington Nationals. The organization selected him in the 17th Round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of Georgia Tech, by way of Snead State Community College.

Earlier this week, Willingham was called up to join the Nationals during the team’s series against Seattle after working his way up in the minor leagues for the last several years.

On Wednesday, Willingham made his debut against the Mariners, becoming the first-ever Snead State Baseball player to play in an MLB game. Washington took down Seattle 4-1 with Willingham pitching in the eighth. Facing four batters, he threw 17 pitches, of which 14 were strikes and gave up just one hit that was unfortunately a solo homerun. His fastballs averaged between 96-99 MPH.

“This is such a huge moment for Amos, and we can’t duly express how proud we are for him to get this opportunity,” said Snead State Head Baseball Coach Casey Underwood. “He’s such a great guy and tremendous baseball player. Amos’ success also marks a major milestone for our program, as he’s the first former Parson to ever pitch or play in the MLB.”

“We’re so proud of Amos for reaching this milestone in his career,” said Snead State President Dr. Joe Whitmore. “He was a model student-athlete during his time at Snead and will forever be remembered as one of the best Parsons to play the game. We wish him the very best as his career progresses.”

Willingham starred for the Parsons from 2016-2018. Over two seasons, he appeared in 26 games including 12 starts. Pitching a total of 103.2 innings, tallied 87 strikeouts and posted a 4.77 ERA.

At Georgia Tech for the 2018-2019 season, Willingham posted an 8-2 record in 18 appearances and 13 starts, pitching 69.1 innings of work for a 5.19 ERA. He finished with 42 strikeouts and an opponents’ batting average of .285, while also pitching a part of a combined shutout. He was instrumental in leading Georgia Tech to a 43-19 record and No. 3 National Seed in the NCAA Tournament where Atlanta played host to the NCAA Regional.

In the minor leagues, Willingham pitched 145.1 innings to record 139 strikeouts and post a 3.84 ERA. This year alone, he went 4-1 and picked up five saves (on six save opportunities) with a 1.90 ERA. He tallied 25 strikeouts in 23.2 innings of play.

The Nationals love Willingham’s four-seam fastball, which has averaged around 95 MPH for the past two years. He’s also worked to develop a slider and change-up, too.

“I came into the spring after [pitching in the Arizona Fall League], and I knew this could be a big year for me,” Willingham told reporters in Seattle on Monday, per The Washington Post. “I needed to go in and take care of everything that I needed to do, and I knew there would be opportunities to move up. I had no idea that it would happen this fast. “I don’t know if my heart’s gone below 100 beats per minute the whole time,” Willingham said. “But we made it here and ready to go.”