— By GREG WEBB
A pair of Weatherford High School senior student-athletes took care of some long-awaited business recently, dispensing of some paperwork just in time to concentrate on a couple of other things — the rest of their high school scholastics, and their final Roo baseball season.
Cory Bynum and Andrew Healy have signed on the dotted line, setting up the next level of their respective student-athlete careers.
Healy will continue his career at Paris Junior College, though the senior cites his home for the next couple of years will be like — well, home.
“Paris is very similar to Weatherford,” Healy said. “Their courthouse is on the square and the rest of the town, with its businesses and restaurants, is set up very similar to here.
“Even the Paris ballfield is set up just like here. It’ll be like home.”
Bynum, who is looking forward to at least a four-year stint at McMurray University, expressed similar sentiment for his impending move to Abilene.
“[Abilene] is a nice town and I felt comfortable with the surroundings,” he said. “I also really liked the coaching staff, so I can see myself being there for a while.”
With their commitments, both of the Weatherford residents are fulfilling a strategic stage of an overall dream, regarding their love for the game.
“I’ve really dedicated myself to baseball since my sophomore year,” said Corey, the son of Mike & Diane Bynum. “I decided than that I wanted to keep playing past high school and go as far as I can.”
After going to a showcase event held in Plano, Bynum got a couple of invites for tryouts. After a visit to Longview, which he described as a good one, McMurray called. After a bullpen session, the McMurray staff offered the WHS senior a reliever spot that day.
“I liked the campus and the facilities,” Bynum said. I really think it would be a good place to be for the next four years.
I’m happy to start out as a relief pitcher, and I am also hoping I can work into a starter while I’m there.”
Healy’s path to college ball was a similar process, with the exposure of showcase camps (and impressive numbers from last year’s Roo season) leading the way.
He was invited to TCU camps the past couple of summers, featuring pro-style workouts and attended by Paris college coaches. Andrew, the son of Kathryn and Jeffrey Healy had also played in select ball showcases on the Paris JC diamond, so the Dragon’s staff is well-versed regarding Healy’s talents.
Both of the Roo athletes will enter college classes with open minds before declaring a major, but both also are intent on continuing with baseball as far as the game will take them.
“I would really love to play this game for a living.” Healy said. “I’ve thought that since playing in Little League.
“I didn’t know how much of that was going to come true, but getting to play at the college level is kind of the first stage of the plan.”
Healy was the starting catcher for Weatherford in his junior campaign, but has been lauded by Roo head baseball coach Terry Massey as having talent enough to play virtually anywhere on the field. The team’s Defensive Player of the Year for 2013 expressed his desire to stay around the game for a long time, whether as a player or even another capacity.
Bynum, with the next step taken care of, has similar thoughts.
“My work doesn’t stop at this level,” he said. “I’m going to do my very best to go as far as I can.”
Both seniors are happy to get “the paperwork” behind them, so they can focus on the next task at hand while still wearing Roo blue.
“We got to the playoffs the past couple of years, but did not get deep into the brackets,” Healy said. “Getting to the state playoffs is something that would be very special.
“There are only four, out of all those playoffs teams, who make it to the state tournament. That is something we would all like to experience.”
Healy hopes the work he has put in will also help him realize some other goals.
“Last year, [WHS grad]Dustin Williams broke a school record, hitting .560,” he said. “I would love to get off to a good start and shoot for that goal.”
Healy’s junior-year numbers are already pretty lofty. He hit .400 last season and led the Roos in runs batted in, with 43.