PJ Hilson continues to perfect his game

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - PJ Hilson can pitch.

"When I get on the mound, it's time to get serious. You got to do what you got to do to win," Hilson said.

He can hit.

"I'm usually trying to get ahead in the count so I can get that perfect pitch to drive."

Not much PJ Hilson can't do on a baseball field.

And he's just scratching the surface.

This summer he's been impressive in extended baseball and American Legion.

Even turned some heads in front of college coaches and big league scouts at a showcase tournament in Alabama.

"That's helped me a lot in Paragould Legion because my stats in the school and stats in Paragould, big difference. I think Paragould has helped me a lot to get ready for next year too."

A switch hitter, Hilson displays both power and speed. Batting .531, 11 extra-base hits including 5 homers and swiping 14 bases.

Hilson is quick to credit longtime friend Hugh Walker for perfecting his swing. Walker picked up on something, so they fixed it.
Has 26 hits in just 15 games.

"Most of the time I'm open, and I turn my head when I swing and lose sight of the ball. Now I'm staying closed and now can see the ball through the bat."

The incoming senior's future at the next level may be best suited as a pitcher.

A local opposing coach said to keep an eye on him for next year's major league draft. He's raw but tops out at 93.

Hilson has been working on honing those skills.

"Don't be a thrower be a pitcher. It's not hard to throw hard, but it's hard to control it."

Thinking like a pitcher has helped Hilson at the plate.

"I see the ball better. When I'm pitching, I think when I go to hit too, because most of the time people don't throw strikes or a lot of them. You just have to be a selective hitter."

For Hilson, there's a different approach from the hitter mindset to that of a pitcher.

"Big difference (laughter) because when you are hitting, it's like what is this guy going to throw me? You don't know. But as a pitcher, you're like, man I'm just trying to throw strikes. Trying to get him to swing. Try to get him hanging."

What do you enjoy more? Hitting or pitching?

"The offense. The hitting because I really try to smack the crap out of the ball."