Center Grove baseball player Mikey Wyman never envisioned himself as a first baseman until he became one.
In more ways than one, the senior has been a hit.
“Coming into my freshman year I was actually a second baseman,” said Wyman, who had been a middle infielder since his days playing Little League. “Coach (Keith) Hatfield saw my dad and saw me and said, ‘You’re not playing second,’ so he moved me to the corner.
“My dad is 6-8, 310, so he figured I would get a little bigger.”
Wyman did — he’s now a burly 6-foot-1, 220 pounds. He’ll soon start his third straight season at first for a program that holds a 45-9 record over the past two years.
Center Grove plays its first game March 31 at Roncalli, Hatfield’s alma mater.
Wyman played a central role in Center Grove’s semistate season of 2016, hitting .321 with three home runs and 19 runs driven in as a sophomore. The biggest hit of his high school career, a tape-measure home run, came in the 5-4 regional victory over New Albany at Bosse Field in Evansville.
“That season definitely matured me as a player and a person,” Wyman said. “That just changed my whole perspective on everything, because just getting on that bus and going to the regional in Evansville is amazing.”
Wyman and senior third baseman Ryan Sauter are expected to fill much of the leadership role for the Trojans in the weeks ahead.
Hatfield, who starts his fifth season with a career record of 81-28, likes the talent, work ethic and offensive efficiency his first baseman brings to the program.
“Mikey has improved every year that we’ve had him power-wise and with extra-base hits,” Hatfield said. “I hope that those continue to rise, but something about Mikey, he doesn’t strike out a whole lot. He always has productive at-bats.
“With him, it’s offense first, but it’s not something that over at first base I need to worry about anything. We have a good dialogue about the defense. He’s a baseball player with a real high baseball IQ, so learning to play that position was not an issue at all.”
Wyman, who looks every bit the cleanup hitter he is, plans to savor the final games of his high school career. In November, he signed a national letter of intent to attend Saint Leo University in Tampa, Florida, where he will major in business and play baseball.
The Lions are a Division II program averaging 28 wins per season over the last six years. First-year Saint Leo coach Rick O’Dette formerly coached St. Joseph’s College in Indiana for 17 seasons.
O’Dette likely won’t be tempted to move Wyman back to second base during his collegiate career, but Wyman is fine with that.
“At first, I was really uncomfortable with the move to first because I had thought of myself as a pretty agile midfielder,” he said. “The first year was a little rough, but my sophomore season I felt really comfortable there. It’s knowing where to be and when to be there in certain situations.”
A closer look at the offensive production of Center Grove first baseman Mikey Wyman: