CROSS PLAINS - Two local baseball players who have been playing together since they were eight years old will continue to do so when they take their talents to Freed-Hardeman University in the fall.
Rob Patterson and Isaac Howeth, members of East Robertson's Class of 2017, began their journey together about 10 years ago.
"We met each other in Dixie Youth when my dad was the all-stars coach and Rob and I got selected," Howeth said. "The next year, my dad put together a travel ball team and he played with us and we've been playing together ever since."
Ever since included four years at East where they both started their entire time there. Howeth played centerfield while Patterson pitched and played third base.
"They've played together a long time and I can't think of any other words to use than just how special it is," East Robertson Head Coach Derek Wix said.
This past season, Patterson was named the District 10A Pitcher of the Year and the Connection's All-Area Pitcher of the Year. Howeth made the All-District 10A team and the Connection's All-Area first team. Both players represented East Robertson in the MidTN All-Star Classic Game.
While they have been teammates for years on the field, the pair is even closer off the field.
"We're best friends," Howeth said. "We live about three minutes away from each other. I'm at his house about five days a week and he eats dinner at my house about every other night. We go to church together and we even go on family vacations together twice a year. It is a true blessing to be able to experience my childhood dream with my best friend."
That friendship will continue at Freed-Hardeman where they will be suitemates.
"I honestly can't wait. We've been together for a long time and I'm looking forward to both of us growing in college," Patterson said. "I think it's going to be a little more comfortable knowing Isaac is going to be there. It's not going to be as worrisome as I thought it would be going into college."
Howeth committed to Freed-Hardeman in early November and Patterson followed suit two days later.
"We are extremely excited to get two fantastic players like Rob and Isaac to be a part of our program," Freed-Hardeman Head Coach Jonathan Estes said. "It was evident from the first time I met them that they were great friends and great teammates and are the type of young men that hold each other as well as their teammates to high standards of excellence. We are looking forward to them continuing that tradition as college teammates."
Wix will certainly miss the pair in the Indians' line-up, but made it clear he doesn't think he's seen the last of them.
"I don't think even though they're graduated my job is done," Wix said. "A lot of my guys find their way back and I'm going to make it out to watch them any time I can. And if they're ever home on a break and need some extra work, they know right where to find me."
This past season, Freed-Hardeman went 32-23 and 13-15 in the American Midwest Conference. The Lions lost to Missouri Baptist University in the AMC Championship. Freed-Hardeman is an NAIA school located in Henderson, Tenn.