Garrett Wilkinson is easily recognizable on the baseball field with his cap slightly askew, which is the way he has always worn it. Where he is found on the field is another matter.
The Evans High School junior is one of his team’s more versatile players, playing first base, the outfield and pitching. That versatility is paying off.
After his sophomore season, in which he batted .305, had a 3-3 pitching record and earned 2012 All-Columbia County honors, the left-hander was invited to the Georgia Underclassmen 100.
At the showcase event in Atlanta, he went one for three at the plate, pitched an inning, striking out three, and played in the outfield. The coach from Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla., liked what he saw, and the two came to an agreement.
“I won’t sign until next year, but I’m verbally committed,” said Wilkinson, who will get to continue to play multiple positions. “Actually, they said if I wanted to I could pitch and play outfield. So that’s probably what I’m going to do.”
That is just the first step in his overall plan.
“I’d like to go to Chipola for two years then transfer to a big school, preferably the SEC or ACC,” he said. “Then after that I’d like to be a coach at a college.”
But first is the next year and a half, with the Knights coming off a trip to the 2012 state playoffs. The squad is off to a 5-2 start with Wilkinson playing his part. He is 1-0 on the mound and has been steady at the plate.
“He’s doing what we expect out of him, looking for that pitch to drive and doing a good job of getting on base,” said Evans head coach Ricky Beale, who plans for Wilkinson to throw a lot of innings this year.
Wilkinson has been around baseball since he was about 4 years old and the game is in his blood.
“My dad (Roger) was a professional scout for the Chicago Cubs, so I’ve been around it my whole life,” said Wilkinson, who got to travel with his father on scouting trips and when he was coaching a travel team. “That’s where I learned little things about the game that helped me.”
Because of the way he throws, he was introduced to pitching early on.
“I’m left-handed, so they just put me on the mound,” Wilkinson said.
One of his high school highlights to date is hitting a home run in the 2012 Region 2-AAAA title game at Greenbrier a year ago.
“It was exciting,” Wilkinson said. “At the time it pulled us within one and we still had an inning to go, made it close.”
Wilkinson’s brother Kyle is in the seventh grade and is a pitcher and shortstop, but the two won’t have a chance to play together.
“It’d be different. Let him have his own time,” said Wilkinson, who laughingly added he wants to leave a legacy for him to follow. “Give him some shoes to fill.”