It's hard to find an athlete with a better track record than Josh Whitaker.
The Augusta Christian senior is quickly running out of fingers to hold all of his championship rings. There's the 2005 football state title win and a Dixie World Series Championship. Then there's the two state rings he owns as a starter on the 2005 and 2006 South Carolina Independent School Association Class AAA state championship baseball teams.
He'll soon get one more state title ring for the third straight baseball state championship he and his teammates won two weeks ago.
"He has had an outstanding high school career. No one can question that," Augusta Christian baseball coach Craig Johnson said.
If more proof is necessary, Whitaker also has the statistics to back up his game. He'll leave the Lions baseball program with some mind-boggling career numbers: 27 home runs, 137 runs, 144 RBI and 35 doubles.
Of all Whitaker's records, one other stat was the hardest to deal with this year. The senior finished his career with 67 walks. For an athlete expecting a home run, double or RBI every time he came to the plate, 27 walks in his senior year was tough to swallow - especially when they came intentionally.
"At first I didn't know how to handle it," Whitaker said. "I didn't like it at all."
Johnson said he could see the walks were irritating his starting first baseman.
"We were down 11-0 one time this year, but he was still intentionally walked," Johnson said. "No kid who is competitive likes to be intentionally walked, but we talked about it earlier in the year that people were going to do that. You can't get too mad because that's a sign of respect."
Intentional walks were the only way SCISA schools could contain Whitaker. He hit .366 as a starting catcher during his freshman year.
His sophomore year he put up a .485 batting average, which was trumped only by a .507 batting average a year later. This season he hit .473 with 10 home runs and 53 RBI.
The numbers from his freshman year to his senior year were only part of the improvement.
"His maturity level from his freshman year to the last game of this season has gone off the charts," Johnson said. "I think his maturity is what brought the work ethic."
It's a work ethic that has been talked about by everyone from teammates to college and professional scouts. Whitaker recently took a few days off after winning the state championship series. Before then, he couldn't remember the last time he went a full day without doing some type of practice or workout.
"After practice, I always stay and hit, and then every Saturday and Sunday I'm in the cage with my dad," he said. "He throws his arm out so I could get extra swings in."
The extra work paid off last fall when Whitaker signed with Kennesaw State. He might be signing again when the Major League Baseball Draft rolls around in June.
"That's certainly a possibility," Johnson said. "There's been numerous scouts at a majority of our games this year."
Whitaker said he's received interest from a few Major League Baseball teams and hasn't tipped his hat as to whether he'll skip college ball.
"It's going to have to be life-changing," he said. "It would be hard to pass up a full education."
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