When it came time to choose a Bryan County Athlete of the Month for the month of March, there were a staggering number of contenders to select from. And for the first time since the award was initiated there are two winners.
The winners of the award for March 2007 are RHHS baseball’s power hitter Nathan Kilburn and BCHS baseball’s ace pitcher Wesley Wilkes. Wilkes' story is in today's paper, with a spotlight on Kilburn to be featured in the forthcoming weekend edition.
Whether on the mound, with an astounding 46 strike-outs coming into April, or at bat, with a .437 batting average, Wilkes is a proven powerhouse on the baseball field who has helped propel the team to a great season thus far.
Wilkes is no stranger to potent hitting – he had the highest batting average on his team last year (.424).
His pitching has greatly improved and is helping to make a name for this young man.
"Recently, I’ve become a lot more accurate by getting more control and having more faith in the team’s defense…and trying not to do everything myself," Wilkes said.
"The biggest thing is to be a team player, but mainly I’m playing outfield when I’m not pitching," he continued. "As far as pitching goes, I’m just trying to do my job – not really trying to get everybody out, letting them put the ball in play and let my defense do the rest."
"He comes to practice everyday, ready to work hard," said BCHS head baseball coach Al Butler. "I’ve had Wesley since I was his C team coach in eighth grade, so I’ve had the pleasure of coaching this young man for 5 years now. In that time, I’ve seen him grow bigger, stronger, faster and smarter."
"He’s almost becoming a coach," Butler continued. "He’s becoming very analytical – he thinks a lot about things that are going on in the field other than his own position. He thinks outside the box. Not a lot of kids do that – they know their role and that’s all they focus on. It’s funny because sometimes he says things that I’m thinking and I just don’t say them out loud. He’s definitely learning the game at a much deeper level than most kids do."
Off the field, Wilkes, who touts a high grade point average, is looking toward a career in the medical profession.
"I’d like to get into pediatrics," Wilkes said. "I’m looking at Armstrong University right now where I’d also like to play baseball."
"He’s a good athlete and a respectful student and I’m been proud to have had him at Bryan County High School these past four years," said BCHS Assistant Principal Rod Bachman. "And it doesn’t hurt that he represents our school very well on that baseball field."