Warriors’ Wilson charging on to Alabama-Huntsville

Cherokee County High School senior baseball player Connor Wilson signed a scholarship with the University of Alabama at Huntsville on Monday morning. From left is Cherokee County baseball coach Bret Henderson, Wilson, and Cherokee County football coach Jacob Kelley. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

CENTRE – Cherokee County High School baseball coach Bret Henderson knew Connor Wilson in the years before he became his head coach – as the opposition.

But when Henderson came to Cherokee County after his days as an assistant at Ohatchee, he realized exactly how special of a player Wilson is.

“He’s very diverse, complete, can play anywhere on the field,” Henderson said. “Obviously he can hit it. I remember facing him saying this guy only gets one fastball a day. Any time we play him, only one. He’s that good at the plate.

“I know he’s been very big for Cherokee County. He’s been worth 25 percent of the runs that have been put up here. I think that’s tremendous, not to mention only having 28 strikeouts in four years. That speaks volumes to his ability at the plate.”

Wilson’s versatility and the pop in his bat have propelled him to become a college prospect. On Monday morning, he signed a baseball scholarship with the University of Alabama-Huntsville in the Cherokee County High School gym.

“With hard work dreams become reality,” said Wilson, who has been playing baseball since he was seven. “I’m just thankful for the people I’ve had around me the past few years. I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for them.

“I used to love watching the older guys when I was younger. I used to want to be like one of the older guys. I wanted to work my butt off to see if I could and play college baseball one day.”

That day has finally become reality for Wilson.

Now that he’s one of those older guys on the Warrior roster, Wilson is filling the shoes of becoming a mentor for the younger guys.

“If there’s someone I could say to our young guys who they need to look at, Connor Wilson is definitely one they need to look at,” Henderson said. “He’s a very good leader. He loves the game. He’s going to work at it during the season and the offseason. If you want to find Connor, he’s probably up here at the hitting facility getting some swings in, no matter what time of the year it is. He’s been really big for us, and he’s able to help the young ones without being aggressive. That speaks volumes of his character and who he is and what the program means to him. He wants this program to continue to get better and better. That’s a big thing.”

Wilson said the Chargers’ main plan for him is to utilize his bat. Since coming onto the varsity squad as an eighth grader, Wilson has manufactured a .442 batting average with 134 hits, including 27 doubles, six triples, nine home runs, 56 walks, 15 hit by pitches, 13 stolen bases, 63 runs and 90 RBIs.

Last season for the Warriors, Wilson batted .559 with 12 doubles, five triples, four home runs, 24 walks, 20 runs and 33 RBIs.

“I think my role up there will be more of a hitter,” he said. “I’ll do whatever they need me to whenever they need me to do it. I’m just glad I’m getting the opportunity.”

With his future secured at UAH, Wilson said he’s glad to be able to just concentrate on his upcoming senior baseball season.

“It’ll make playing (this season) more fun, but it’ll also make it fun preparing for the next level,” he said. “A lot of work has to be put into it. If you don’t work, you’re not going to make it to the next level.”

Henderson said Wilson should “fit right in” with the Chargers.

“They’re going to get a very hard worker, a very good student, a very good kid,” Henderson said. “He’s going to buy into the program. He’s not going to question it. He’s going to accept the coaching, learn from it and get better every single day.”

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