Batesville pitcher Gage Wood wins inaugural Harold Gwatney Award
BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - Batesville High has had a resurgence on the diamond.
Gage Wood is one reason why, he’s a two-way force like Shohei Ohtani. Wood’s arm and bat helped the Pioneers reach the 5A State Semifinals. He’s received honors from the Associated Press and Arkansas Activities Association to name a few. Wood was named the inaugural winner of the Harold Gwatney Award. The accolade goes to the Arkansas High School Baseball Player of the Year.
“It’s great. All the hard work I’ve put in is finally paying off,” Wood said Tuesday. “It’s just one of those things that you can’t help but smile. It’s awesome, I love it. I found most of my growth from finding the weight room. Just getting really bigger, faster, stronger, and just helping my body move better down on the mound and everything. It was great, I loved every bit of it. I wouldn’t trade that team for the world. It was awesome. It was a movie.”
Pioneer head coach Kelly Rush has seen Gage’s growth and development over the years. “It was amazing. There’s not many times you can call something and someone can do it every single pitch,” Rush added. “And he’s had a couple of those games for us. It’s great for us. Obviously it’s great for him, great for the program. Puts us on the front page as you would say. And we’re excited about it.”
The Harold Gwatney Award will become an annual tradition on the diamond. Grant Walker of Gwatney Chevrolet presented the award. “Mr. Harold Gwatney was just such a wonderful person,” Walker said. “He passed away after an illness in January. We wanted to do something to honor him, and do something for Arkansas high school baseball. And I talked to management, I talked to ownership, and got the go-ahead, and here we are. Beginning next year, we’re going to do one for Arkansas high school softball. Looking forward to getting that going too.”
Wood turns his attention to the summer and the SEC. The Diamond Pioneer signed with the Diamond Hogs for the 2022 recruiting class. “Right now, I’m going up to Little Rock three times a week with Dustin Moseley (Proformance Sports Academy). We’re doing training 8 to 12 every morning there. And then I’m playing a couple summer tournaments on the road. I’ll be in Fayetteville this coming weekend.”
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