When looking in the dictionary for a definition of a “student-athlete” one may find a picture of Matt Walker. As a 2020 uncommitted outfielder, the junior out of St. Stephens High School in Hickory, NC, is in fact a top performer both in the classroom and on the baseball field.
And he hopes to parlay those attributes into an opportunity at the next level. A strong student in the classroom, he is equally strong with his physicality as a player – particularly at the plate.
As the general manager of Dirtbags Baseball, Trey Daly can attest to those baseball skills as evidenced in his saying, “Matt is a 6.8 runner that roams the outfield. Walker is a RHH who has strength in the swing and athletic ability to help any lineup.”
Since joining the Dirtbags the summer after his freshman year, Matt has seen his game and his opportunities to gain exposure grow. In learning his perspectives of the decision to join the organization, it is easy to see how he “begins with the end in mind” when attacking a goal or problem.
Such a proven habit of effectiveness became obvious when he talked about when he realized he wanted to play college baseball. Matt said the exposure available by playing with the Dirtbags allowed them to emerge from the field of possibilities as a the premier choice. So he went to a tryout and the process started.
One of the most impactful factors for Walker when considering how being Dirtbag has helped him grow as a player is related to the relationships and competition brought on by his teammates.
The environment has influenced him multidimensionally. He said, “Being surrounded by guys who love the game as much as I do and are invested leads to me being a better person and player.”
Growing as player and a person has also provided opportunities for him to emerge as a leader not only with the Bags, but also with his high school team. While this past spring was not quite where he and his fellow Indians of St. Stephens wanted it, he is already looking forward to next year as chance to change that culture in a positive direction.
Other areas of growth since being a Dirtbag has been in the outfield. Already a strong performer at the plate, he had only played the outfield a little prior to donning the black and gold. He now gets better jumps on balls and takes better routes. He attributes this again to who he has been able to play with on these Dirtbag teams.
He explains it here, “I found I excel and get better when on a good team with good players. Confidence in their abilities let’s me take my practice on the field.”
And Trey Daly sees it is translating well by stating, “Matt Walker is the definition of a Dirtbag. There is no question when he steps in between the lines what you’re going to get. He’s a blue collar kid who goes about his business the right way.”
At 5’10” and 175 pounds, Walker sports plenty of athleticism. He plays the game hard and admits he carries a presence about him on the field – wanting it to be obvious that he’s “the guy.”
Daly finishes by saying, “It’s going to be an exciting 2019 for Matt as someone is going to get a high quality kid with grades and skill ability.”
The priority is for the school’s academic reputation to be just as formidable as its baseball clout is a big deal for Walker. So looking to take those athletic abilities with his drive and leadership to a post-secondary institution that promotes high academic standards is something Walker is willing to be patient about to find the right fit.