Ex-Randleman standout Atkins looks for new baseball home

Hunter Atkins (Bob Sutton / Randolph Record)

ASHEBORO – Former Randleman baseball standout Hunter Atkins said playing for the Asheboro ZooKeepers this summer is a treat.

It’s also serving as an audition.

After one season in UNC Greensboro’s program, Atkins has entered the NCAA transfer portal. That puts more emphasis on the third baseman’s production for the ZooKeepers in the Coastal Plain League.

“Trying to get some stats up and see if I can get to a good home,” Atkins said.

Atkins had a redshirt season in 2024, so he never took the field for UNCG. The Spartans had a coaching change in December, with Billy Godwin departing and Cody Ellis taking over as interim coach. In May, the “interim” tag was removed from Ellis’ title as he was named Coach of the Year in the Southern Conference.

Atkins said a fresh start should be beneficial.

Atkins played for Randleman’s state championship teams in 2021 and 2022. He was the Player of the Year in the Piedmont Athletic Conference in 2021 and 2023. Last summer, he played American Legion baseball for Randolph County Post 45.

ZooKeepers head coach Korey Dunbar said Atkins is the type of player who can play a key role in the middle of the ZooKeepers’ lineup.

Playing for the ZooKeepers and living at home is a bonus for Atkins this summer.

“I’m a homebody so I like being able to play here,” he said.

On the diamond …

The ZooKeepers put together a three-game winning streak through the weekend.

The last of those came with Noah Samol throwing four shutout innings from the bullpen in Sunday’s 5-2 home victory against the High Point-Thomasville HiToms at McCrary Park.

Chase Heath homered and doubled while driving in four runs in Asheboro’s 8-4 victory against the Florence Flamingos.

Mason Manriquez threw four shutout innings in relief in a 4-2 road victory against the Boone Bigfoots. Zach Evans scored two runs

By Bob Sutton