Michael Gettys changed the face of the Gainesville High baseball program.
A hard-throwing, right-handed pitcher with an explosive bat, he reminded many in the Gainesville High community of a player that came through its program a decade earlier and went on to enjoy success in the big leagues — Micah Owings. Unlike Owings, though, Gettys was most-highly touted for his outfield skills with the great range in center field that could cover the entire territory and an arm that really grabbed the scouts’ attention last summer with throws from the outfield clocked at 100 mph.
As a Red Elephant, Gettys guided the program deep into the postseason all four years, including a trip to the Class AAAAA state semifinals in 2014. On June 5, Gettys reaped the rewards of a banner high school career as the 51st overall pick by the San Diego Padres in the MLB Draft. As a senior, he hit .377 with 11 homers, 53 RBIs, and a 7-4 record, 1.85 ERA and 105 strikeouts on the mound.
For his efforts, Gettys is The Times’ Baseball Player of the Year.
“We had our team banquet on Monday, and I said that Michael had a career that changed the face of our program,” said Gainesville coach Jeremy Kemp. “He got everything he deserved.”
For his career, Gettys’ pitching line goes like this: 29-5 record, 303 strikeouts, 19 complete games, 14 shutouts and a 1.42 ERA. That speaks volumes about his talent when you consider he’s more valued as an outfielder at the next level.
Gettys completed his contract with the Padres on Thursday in San Diego, according to Kemp, and will begin his pro career at the rookie ball level. The star two-position player was unable to be reached for the story, despite multiple attempts Wednesday.
Gainesville’s hard-throwing righty had some of his best stuff in the postseason as a senior.
His best probably came when he fanned 12 and retired nine of the first 11 batters he faced in a 7-0 win to open the quarterfinal series sweep against Starr’s Mill. Then in the state semifinals, Gettys took the 6-2 loss despite striking out 11 and allowing only one hit through the first four innings against eventual state champion Houston County.
Kemp called Houston County the best hitting team he’s ever coached against.
“Michael pitched all the big games for us,” Kemp said. “He took the program to a higher standard.”
One of Gettys’ best hitting performances was two homers in a Region 8-AAAAA victory against Winder-Barrow.
Signed to play with the University of Georgia, Gettys did it all on the diamond as a senior, despite having every move he made scrutinized by the pro scouts. Every game the scouts would line the fence — home or away — to watch Gettys, whether it was his play in the outfield or approach at the plate.
Kemp said scouts also came out to practice just to see the future second-round pick taking swings in the cage.
Gainesville’s coach said he tried to provide a buffer from the scouts so Gettys could focus on playing well and enjoying his senior season.
Gettys did it against a very challenging schedule, including six nationally-ranked opponents and 11 games against top-10 ranked opponents in Class AAAAA. According to Kemp, Gainesville faced 20 future Division-I pitchers in 2014.