Wilson a key cog in Gators’ run to title game
Wilson a key cog in Gators' run to title game
He gets on base for teammates to bring him in. When teammates get on base, he brings them in. When he’s in center field, he makes plays that keep other teams from scoring.
If it sounds like Reggie Wilson does it all, that’s not true. He doesn’t pitch, but it’s not because he can’t.
His coach at San Jacinto (Texas) College-North decided to take it easy on the 5-foot-8, 180-pounder from Beaumont, Texas, this spring because Wilson had some work done on his arm.
“Usually he’s 93, 94,” San Jac coach Tom Arrington said of the mph on Wilson’s fastball, “that little guy throwing it that hard.”
Minus the pitching, the Gators’ leadoff hitter did everything else in the regular season, then followed suit in the 2012 Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.
After going 2 for 3 with two walks, a triple and a run scored in San Jac’s 7-1 win over Gordon (Ga.) College, he leads all players at the tournament with a .526 batting average.
He’ll put his skills on display at Suplizio Field one more time tonight, this time with the national title on the line.
“Reggie is without a doubt, if not the, he is one of the most talented people I’ve ever played with,” said Gators sophomore third baseman Kirby Taylor. “He has a great attitude with the game, and he hates to lose more than he likes to win. He competes every at-bat, every play, and failure does not come easy to him. He takes it hard on himself, that’s why he succeeds so much.”
Taylor led San Jac with 42 RBI coming into the World Series, pushing Wilson, who was second on the team with 46 runs prior to the tourney, across the plate plenty of those times.
“Usually if he gets on base, he’ll be on second or third sooner or later,” Taylor said. “It’s usually a pretty easy RBI to get in.”
Besides the runs, the other offensive statistics are impressive. Entering the World Series, Wilson led the Gators in on-base percentage (.475), walks (45), stolen bases (25) and home runs (3). He was second in runs (46), batting average (.317) and hit by pitch (10). And, despite batting leadoff, he was third in RBI (30).
With all of that production, the thing Wilson believes he does best is getting on base.
“Me getting on base, it gives my great three, four, five (hitters) and my great two-hole (hitter), gives them a chance to bring me in,” he said.
Wilson said he also had to learn early in his first season to not try to do too much. His numbers seem to suggest he did it anyway, but Arrington put it in perspective.
“What we mean by that is no man is an island,” Arrington said. “You don’t take the full responsibility. You’ll see him do that at times. He wants to do everything, and we say, ‘Slow the game down a little bit. Understand that these other guys are going to do some work, too.’ “
Wilson got the message and settled into his leadoff role, igniting the offense.
“I think he just creates the element of unrest in the opposing pitcher,” Arrington said. “You don’t really know how to attack him. You don’t want to walk him because he’s quick, but then you don’t want to lay (pitches) in there because he’s got power. That’s a very powerful tool.”
Wilson has become a leader in the field, too, covering massive amounts of ground in the outfield and getting others in the right spot based on coaches’ directions.
He also brings an energy to every aspect of the game.
“You see it. Man, this guy, he’s got some energy,” Arrington said. “Something’s going on, he’s always moving, looking for an angle, looking for an extra base to take, not giving up, slapping the ball, then sometimes hitting for power. There’s a lot of elements there.”
Wilson brought all of his tools to San Jac because he was recruited by the Gators, and a friend from his high school, two years ahead of him, told him good things about his experience at San Jac.
“The way they win, this is the home for me,” he said. “Ever since my junior year, this is where I wanted to come.”