Columbus High added another name to the ranks of college baseball on Wednesday when left-hander Tadan Bell announced his verbal commitment to Coastal Carolina on Twitter.
Bell becomes the second Division I prospect from the Discoverers in the last three years following Tyler Palmer at Nebraska.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder was a Second Team Super-State honoree by the Lincoln Journal Star and All-Class A by the World Herald. In 10 appearances as a junior, Bell was 5-2 with a 3.50 ERA, 1.327 WHIP and 78 strikeouts to go with 24 walks.
Bell struck out 13 at Lincoln North Star on April 10 and 14 at Fremont Bergan on April 23, just a few days after Bergan had won the Heartland Athletic Conference and was ranked in the top five.
He also led CHS to a district win over Creighton Prep and tossed six innings of the first-round state tournament loss to Millard South. Bell held Millard South to one earned run, walked five and struck out six. The Patriots went on to win the state championship and scored more than two runs each game after squeezing by Columbus 2-1.
"I'm really excited for Tadan. He deserves every bit of this opportunity because he, of anyone, has made himself into a tremendous pitcher and baseball in general. ...He's been so coachable with all the teams he's played with, and he's just a driven young man," Columbus baseball coach Jimmy Johnson said.
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Columbus has also produced the likes of CJ Fleeman to Missouri Southern State, Trey Kobza to Southeast Community College, Brent Beard to Iowa Western, Evan Bock to Mount Marty and Kaden Young to Northeast.
At Coastal Carolina, Bell will join one of the most prestigious baseball programs outside of the Power 5 conferences. Coastal Carolina regularly wins the the Sun Belt Conference and makes the NCAA Tournament. The Chanticleers won the 2016 national championship in Omaha at the CWS and have made the NCAA tournament 17 times in the past 31 seasons.
"They're a contender for the Sun Belt Conference every single year, and they're a contender to, if not host a regional at least make a regional. So, he's going to have some really exciting games, opportunities for conference championships and hopefully regionals and super regionals," Johnson said. "He could even see some College World Series games. We've seen that they're capable of it."
Coastal Carolina is also geographically situated in America's baseball hot bed, giving Bell the chance to regularly perform in front of major league scouts - something Johnson believes is in Bell's future.
"I really think he's going to give himself a chance to sign a major league deal. I just think there's even more ahead for him," Johnson said. "With as driven as he is, and as passionate as he is, and his talent, there's even more in store."
Bell sees a pitching coach each week and has been described as pouring himself into his craft. The constant refrain from Johnson, boys basketball coach Jordan Hitchcock, and anyone else around Bell when it comes to sizing up his abilities, has always been about commitment.
Johnson could see his potential as a youngster pitching for the Outlaws. But Bell didn't just use early success to form his expectations. Those around him say he went all in and is now reaping the rewards.
"You could tell even then he was really talented. Seeing him pitch in eighth grade, you could see he was going to make a run at varsity as a freshman, and he did," Johnson said. "He's just continued to improve and get bigger, faster, stronger and work his tail off to get where he is now."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sports@Columbustelegram.com.