Josh Wilson will admit he’s not a true pitcher. He plays his part and has been solid throughout his career for Clarksville High’s baseball team. But Wilson has never really seen himself as a hurler in the long term.
Wilson sees his role an outfielder and hitter.
And so does Columbia State Community College.
Wilson decided to continue his athletic career after he signed with Columbia State’s baseball team Wednesday afternoon.
“I had a chance to go visit Columbia State at the beginning of the year and really loved it,” Wilson said. “I like how the coaches there remind me of CHS coach (Brian) Hetland because they really focus on school work just as much as they focus on baseball.”
Wilson received interest from Lindsay Wilson, Jackson State and Trevecca but developed a relationship with the Columbia State coaching staff and also was nudged by Wildcats teammate Anthony Hightower, who also signed to play baseball at Columbia State earlier this year.
“I’ve played baseball my entire life with Scooter,” Wilson said. “We talked a lot about the possibility to playing together. He encouraged me to make my own decision but he also talked about how cool it would be if we played together so that was a huge factor for me when I made my decision.”
Wilson said Columbia State would use him in several roles, including as a relief pitcher. But the 5-foot-11, 170-pound CHS star admitted that he’d like to develop into the kind of hitter that puts fear into opponents.
“He’s one of the best two or three hitters I’ve ever coached in my career,” said Hetland, who also spent years as an assistant baseball coach at Austin Peay. “He’s a great contact hitter and has such a consistent approach at the plate that he’s just so reliable out there.”
Wilson has been an everyday player for the Wildcats since his sophomore season and has only struck out a mere 12 times in his entire prep career, Hetland said.
“He doesn’t have that one thing that is just phenomenal,” Hetland said. “He just does everything great. That’s why he’s so valuable. He’s our best first baseman. He’s our best outfielder and because he has an incredible breaking ball, he became our best pitcher.”
He also became District 10’s top pitcher, earning the Pitcher of the Year honors from the district coaches this past season. He had a 5-2 record with a 1.78 ERA. He struck out 62 batters and had only 12 walks. At the plate, he batted .457 with 18 RBIs and a home run.
“Columbia State can use him in a bunch of different ways,” Hetland said. “He’ll have the opportunity to grow and really become a standout when he joins with a four-year college.”
Wilson and Hetland said they think he’ll pitch from the bullpen in spot duty but his priority will be in the outfield. Wilson has the speed to play at just about every position in the outfield. He finished the 2012 season with 23 stolen bases and struck out only three times.
“I accepted the challenge of pitching because we needed pitchers,” Wilson said. “But I’m a hitter. I’m an outfielder and that’s where I think I’ll make my mark.”