Luke Montalbano, Sports Writer • email@example.com
The Emory & Henry baseball team is excited for the 2018 season. One Wasp that is ready to get back on the field is Holden Watkins.
On the baseball field, Watkins is a junior from Ridgeway, VA and a graduate of Magna Vista High School. After his high school career, Watkins decided to continue his baseball career by playing at the collegiate level at Emory & Henry.
He picked Emory & Henry because “halfway through the visit I knew this was where I wanted to call home for 4 years. Between the genuineness and experience of Coach McCall and Coach Schaffner and the sheer beauty of the campus, I knew that this was the school. I honestly feel that you know where you are meant to be and I find happiness in the fact that I’ll be a Wasp for life.”
During his freshman year in 2015, Watkins got to play in 8 games for the Wasps. His batting average was .292, had seven hits, had four runs and five RBIs that season. Watkins learned a lot his freshman year, he said “My freshman year I learned the values of patience and hard work. I did not get a lot of playing time my first year here as we had a talented, senior shortstop in Jordan Woullard ahead of me on the depth chart. I’m not going to lie, at first it was tough as I never had to assume such a role on my previous teams but at the end of the day, I am convinced that it made me into the player I am today.”
However, after seeing action in a few games his freshman year, Watkins stepped up his game and had an impressive sophomore year. Watkins greatly improved his batting average from his freshman year, batting at .333 for the season, and had the second highest batting average on the team. He also recorded a slugging percentage of .451, an OBP of .386, two home runs, and 16 RBIs. Watkins also finished the year with a 14-game hitting streak. He was recognized for his achievements on the baseball field his sophomore season by earning a spot on the All-ODAC Third Team.
After a successful sophomore season in 2016, Watkins was anticipating another successful season in 2017. However, that did not happen due to a season ending injury. Watkins said “it was one of the more difficult things, both physically and mentally, that I’ve had to endure. Watching every practice and game from the sidelines when you know you can put the team in a better position to win is one of the most helpless situations an athlete could ever be placed in. I would have given anything to be out there on the diamond competing with my brothers.
However, after a whole season ready to rest, Watkins is ready to get back onto the field and help lead the Wasps to a successful season. Last year, the Wasps set the school record with 17 wins, and are looking to build off that. This year, they are picked to finish 8th in the ODAC, however, Watkins feels that this team can compete for an ODAC title, as he said “This is by far the most talented team that we have had since I have been at Emory. We have a great mix of battle tested upperclassmen with underclassmen who are eager to win right away. I have absolutely no doubt that we will make the ODAC tournament and once we accomplish that feat, anything is possible in the playoffs if you just take it one game at a time. We have one and only one expectation as a team, to win an ODAC Championship.”