Player: Colby Wilkerson
Some may notice that a work ethic has a general association with not only opportunities but also achievement. One should count Colby Wilkerson, a 2020 shortstop from Kerr-Vance Academy, to be among those those that believe in a strong work ethic.
With growing up on a farm, and knowing that he would spend his summers in the tobacco field Monday through Friday if he wanted to play on the weekends, Wilkerson said he learned to take nothing for granted.
And he continues to operate with that in mind has he plays the game of baseball with the same mentality. The junior who sees each experience as a preparation to his next performance.
It has definitely paid dividends thus far, as Wilkerson took the University of North Carolina up on their offer and committed to the Tarheels in September of 2018.
In joining the Dirtbags going into the fall of 2018, Colby was actually re-joining the organization. He shared he had been a Dirtbag with a youth team some time back but felt compelled to transition back for the opportunities to play at such a high caliber group.
And as a member of Dirtbags Founder/CEO Andy Partin’s squad, that’s exactly what he found; plenty of opportunities. He has been impressed with how all of Wilkerson’s preparation translates on the field. The energy and enthusiasm that he employs is noticeable.
Partin quipped, “It looks like someone locked him in a closet for a month and finally let him out to play.”
Wilkerson has been equally impressed with his coach. When asked how the Dirtbags have made him better, Wilkerson responded with “Probably just being in the dugout with Andy Partin. I learned from him every game”
Colby also cited how with being a Dirtbag, the group is pushed to be a team. He says this helped him to recognize as a player he won’t do everything well every game but he can control his effort and hustle each time out.
Chances to absorb truths like focusing on what can be controlled and learn through mistakes are among the most impactful lessons the switch hitting middle infielder took away.
In explaining the experiences he smartly stated some of his own wisdom with the one-liner, “Learn quick to succeed.”
Upon reflecting on reasons he saw growth in his game since with the Bags, he readily pointed to the opportunity of going to the big tournaments like the WWBA in Jupiter. It was in those moments he began realizing he’s only “one fish in the sea.”
Of course this encouraged him to focus and elevate his workouts. In summarizing this point, Colby said, “Someone is always competing for that same spot.”
Wilkerson definitely has skills to go with his mental and physical attributes, giving good reason why he rises to the occasion when competing for those coveted recognitions and opportunities.
Partin summed it up with, “He is a highly skilled defender in the infield and he throws well. Colby is a switch-hitter with a knack for finding the barrel. He seems to give you continuous quality at-bats.”
And he has been showing those skills so far this spring with Kerr-Vance Academy. After a lot of rain the Spartans sit 7-2 with 5 games cancelled. Colby says the team is looking good and as the defending back-to-back state championships they hope to have something to say about this spring’s outcome. He loves how despite their success the team is still hungry and competing. He added, “I bring that to any team.”
For the Dirtbags in 2019, he wants the group to stay together and encourage one another. Pointing out that if they don’t let the team get derailed they will be able to overcome obstacles and achieve a memorable summer. By the way he is expecting to win in Georgia!
The excitement is shared by Partin who summed up the expectations with, “I can’t wait to work alongside Colby again in 2019. He’s so fun to watch. His passion for the game drips off his jersey.”
Perhaps his explanation about his off-season focus sums up Colby’s views on the game and even life. He says he chose preparation over distractions. And suggested that if other players would realize they can’t just work prior to a game – have to work well in advance they would find more success.
He bluntly stated, “It’s a game that will beat you up. But it will give back what you’ve earned.”
But isn’t that what one would expect to hear from Colby Wilkerson, a player that gets the relationship of working to achieve. Of course, that line would come from him because it’s always been like that for him.
All his life, whether it was the duties of the farm, the extra cuts in the cage or the fungos in the field, he’s simply “had to work to get to play.”