For a high school athlete, the ultimate goal is earning the opportunity to keep playing ball at the collegiate level. Whitewater baseball’s senior class of 2015 has accomplished something special, something almost unbelievable. In the 2015 class of 14 seniors, 12 Wildcats have signed to play college baseball.
According to the NCAA’s own stats, out of more than 400,000 high school baseball players, just 6.9% will play at the college level. The Wildcats aren’t just surpassing that number, they’re obliterating it. Whitewater’s class of 2015 is hitting at an 85-percent clip. For all of the accomplishments a team can grab in high school athletics, there’s none much higher than getting your athletes signed to college. The success of this Whitewater class is so special, it may never again be topped.
“To have 12 in a class go is amazing,” said coach Rusty Bennett. “Most schools in a senior class will have three or four. To have 12 in a class go, to me, that’s more rewarding than all the wins.”
The range of schools is wide. Jake Lee will be a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket and Ethan Gillis will be a Kennesaw State Owl. Jabari Richards is a Furman Palladin and Tyler Burdette is a Piedmont College Lion. Two schools liked what they saw at Whitewater so much that they’ve each claimed a trio of Cats. Georgia Highlands inked Brandon Bell, Nick Fink, and Colby Taylor. West Georgia Tech signed Avery Roth, Ben Hughlon, and Allen Chumley. Before all was said and done, Bryce Baker signed with Truett-McConnell College and Jeremiah Woods inked with Florence Darlington Tech. Jared Gresham and Nick Weinstein, both very good players, round out the class.
The class has some big signings, but it’s the guys who earned their opportunity even with less playing time that Bennett is especially proud of. On a team loaded with talent, they kept grinding and earned what’s theirs.
“I can’t be more thrilled. A lot of kids could’ve just packed it in,” said Bennett. “Bryce Baker, Allen Chumley, Ben Hughlon, Nick Fink, Tyler Burdette, they’re not big name guys. They just worked their butts off, and they’re still going to have a chance to play at the next level.”
The coaching staff at Whitewater has helped this group of young men do something awesome. They didn’t just get them ready to win today, and they did plenty of that with back-to-back finals appearances, they gave them the tools for a successful future. This bunch has been molded into a group good enough to keep playing while earning a high education. Time will tell what happens to this class, but they’re off to an historically good start.