Wednesday, June 5, 2013
By Chris Sokoloski
Georgetown High School’s Hunter Graham signed to play baseball with the University of South Carolina – Sumter last week.
“It means a lot to me,” Graham said, “to go off and do bigger things in my life and keep playing ball. I’m fortunate to have a chance to do that. I’m really happy.”
“He was our go-to guy the last two years,” said coach Mike Johnson. “He got the tough assignments.”
Graham first fell in love with the sport as a six-year-old playing tee ball. He also tried soccer as a youngster.
Johnson can’t remember Graham ever missing practice.
“He’s a pretty committed guy,” Johnson said. “When the game was on he was a gamer.”
A person who’s been a huge influence on Graham is Kevin Woodall, who coached him in recreation and travel ball and at Georgetown High.
“He helped me a lot from when I was a little kid playing all the way up through high school,” Graham said.
Johnson said coaches at Georgetown and other schools, saw potential in Graham early on.
After Graham pitched in relief during the International Paper Baseball Classic as a ninth-grader, A.C. Flora coach Andy Hallett told Johnson, “boy he’s going to be something.”
“We could tell he was going to be a special guy,” Johnson said.
It took a lot of work on the field and in the classroom to earn a scholarship Graham said.
“It was tough, but it’s well worth it,” he added.
The biggest transition to college will be keeping up with all the work.
“[I’ll] try to excel in my abilities and keep working hard and stay strong with it,” said Graham, who wants to study engineering.
When he wasn’t pitching, Graham played outfield and first base.
Johnson said Graham was good in the outfield and “smooth as glass” at first base.
Graham said one of his best Georgetown High memories was beating Andrews this season on senior night. He pitched a complete game, striking out 14 and scattered five hits.
“You always want to beat Andrews because they’re a rival for Georgetown,” he said.
“Hunter was very impressive,” Johnson said.
In attendance at that game was a coach from USC – Sumter.
“It’s a good fit for Hunter,” Johnson said. “After two years, maybe [he’ll have] a chance for bigger and better things.”