Power source in play

The Tennessee baseball coaching staff pulled one of the more decorated high school athletes out of Georgia recently with the verbal commitment of the state's single-season home run record holder. See what the prospect had to say to InsideTennessee.com.

When people passionately talk on the subject of power, the vision of an open-palmed hand with a weighted, spherical object rests just inside the tips of the fingers.

When Christin Stewart has his power on display, he's squared up to home plate, eyeing a 108-stitch baseball and carrying a weapon that becomes destructive when its within his grasp.

"I'm a pretty big power guy. I hit 26 home runs this year with 70 RBIs. I bring people in and hit for power," said Stewart, who broke the Georgia state home run record previously held by current Arizona Diamondback and Gainesville (Ga.) native Micah Owings.

Tennessee recruiting coordinator Bill Mosiello made it a point to do some scouting at the World Wood Bat Association National Championship in Marietta, Ga., in July. It was then and there that he witnessed Stewart's power on display.

Only weeks later, Stewart gave a verbal commitment to play his college baseball for the Volunteers and new head coach Dave Serrano.

"It was really nice there," Stewart told InsideTennessee.com, referencing his mid-July trip to Knoxville. "All the facilities are very nice. I like the campus. I liked the academics."

The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder chose Tennessee over scholarship offers from Georgia Southern, Kennesaw, Mercer, Savannah State and Virginia Tech.

The Vol coaching staff has barely had time to unpack after making their way to Knoxville this summer, but they've hit the ground running in recruiting with Stewart being the seventh pledge.

"I like them," Stewart said of the UT coaches. "I like their personalities and energy and everything."

On top of the academics, campus, facilities and staff, Stewart mentioned the excitement that comes with playing in college baseball's premier league — the Southeastern Conference.

"It makes me feel really good. All the hard work I put in. I can play with the best players, and that's all I wanted to do. I'm just really thankful I can do it," he said.

Stewart's ability to drive the ball out of the park and knock in runs is exactly what coaches desire out of a corner infield or corner outfield spot. He noted that the Tennessee staff is recruiting him primarily as an outfielder and catcher with a possibility of playing some first base.

Stewart, who bats left-handed and throws right-handed, also batted .500, stole 13 bases and scored 65 runs to go with his gaudy power numbers while playing his junior season at Providence Christian in Lilburn, Ga.

His record-setting blast came in the second game of the best-of-three series in the GHSA Class A state championship.

Stewart did what he could to carry his squad on the cusp of the title before falling being swept in the finals 2-0 by Hebron Christian.

"We have a good chance to get back to the state championship this year," he said. "We only lost four seniors, but we got a lot of uprising kids who transferred to come play varsity last year. I'm pretty sure we'll compete really well next year. We'll have a good chance at it again."

Another season similar to or better than 2011 could force a pro franchise to call his name out in June's First-Year Player Draft. The decision between college or pro ball is sure to be a tough one.

"I guess it depends on what round. I'm not really thinking that far yet, but it if happens I'll focus on it then. Right now my focus is on getting ready for Tennessee," said Stewart, who played this summer for Team Elite.

Stewart carries a 3.8 GPA in the classroom. He scored a 1350 on the SAT and plans on taking the ACT. He wants to major in Pre-Med.

He will sign in the early period on Nov. 9.

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