Chris Townsend

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 15, 2011

South Panola senior shortstop Chris Townsend Jr. (front, center) signs a national letter of intent on Friday to play baseball with Division1 University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Ark. He was surrounded by family and friends (front) his parents Rev. Christopher and Minister Nyanthia Townsend; (back, l. to r.) Lorenzo Grimes, principal Tim Fowler, head coach Patrick Robey, Earnestine Burnett and Ebony Thornton. The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

 Hard work pays off for Townsend

By Myra Bean
South Panola senior shortstop Chris Townsend signed a national letter of intent with Division 1 Central Arkansas University on Friday morning.

The University of Central Arkansas Bears, located in Conway, Ark. near Little Rock, is a member of the Southland Conference. The Bears head coach is Allen Gum.

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Townsend, last year’s Under Armour Preseason All-Star shortstop, said he is glad to have the decision made and now he can just concentrate on his senior season. Last year, he was the leadoff batter for the Tigers and finished the season with .394 batting average, .488 on-base percentage, .654 slugging percentage, scored 39 runs, had 41 hits, 10 doubles, four triples and three homeruns.

He is the son of Rev. Christopher and Min. Nyanthia Townsend Sr. Both parents expressed how proud they are of their son’s accomplishments.

“We prayed for the right fit for him,” Nyanthia said. “We wanted him to go where he will be able to exercise his gifts and programs will appreciate his ability.”

She also said they wanted him happy and comfortable. After a visit to the campus and meeting the coaching staff, she was satisfied that he made the right decision.

Townsend’s head coach Patrick Robey was instrumental in helping Chris find the right fit, according to Nyanthia.

“He told us what to look for when we were looking at schools,” she said.

Robey said Chris earned this scholarship because of his work ethic.
“He willed himself to be a good player,” Robey said. “He can play baseball and have a good business background because that is what he wants to study. We are proud for him. We certainly expect a good year out of him this year. He has come a long way.”

The senior Townsend said he is just proud of him.

“This is a testament to hard work,” he said. “We know the sky’s the limit.”

Chris Jr. played last summer for the Midwest Nationals Team out of Springfield, Mo.

During his visit to Central Arkansas, Townsend felt the program was about his personal development as a ballplayer.

“It felt like home,” he said.

Playing this summer out-of-state gave the Central Arkansas staff a chance to watch Townsend at work.

“They came to see me play and it helped me get seen by other colleges.”

At South Panola, Townsend is actively involved in various activities. He is a member and co-captain of Risque Business, and member of Hi-Y, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), National Honor Society, BETA Club, 21 Club, Science Club and Mu Alpha Theta. He made a 21 on the ACT and maintains a 3.8 grade point average.

Minister Townsend said it is a “bittersweet but happy” occasion as their only child plans to graduate and go to college.

Townsend is the grandson of Katherine Lloyd and the late Hezzie Lloyd and Willie B. Townsend and the late Lena Mae Townsend, all of Batesville.