With the high school season finished, Gainesville rising junior Michael Gettys is trading the Big Red for Team Georgia as he competes in the annual Sunbelt Classic Junior Series.
And the center fielder/pitcher is doing it ahead of schedule: He’s the lone rising junior on a team full of rising seniors.
“First of all it’s a huge honor to represent your state,” said Gainesville baseball coach Jeremy Kemp, who added that a number of college and pro scouts will be present at the event. “I’m proud of him for getting selected. It’s an honor, and he’s the only upcoming junior on the team, but he deserves it.”
The event, beginning Friday in McAlester, Okla. and also played at Eastern Oklahoma State College, combines teams from Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado, Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arizona and Canada for a pool-play tournament.
Last year Team Georgia fell in the finals to Tennessee, which will look to defend its title this season.
Gainesville athletic director and former baseball coach Wayne Vickery, who has been a coach with Team Georgia since 1998, added that the event is a great place to catch the eye of colleges.
“Absolutely a lot of scouts,” said Vickery, who mentioned a player from Oconee County a few year’s back, current Mississippi State star Adam Frazier, who had one offer when he went and 40 when he returned from the event.
Gettys, who has already committed to the University of Georgia, was invited to play for the team after another player dropped out. Vickery said that after Gettys’ junior season that included nine home runs, 12 wins on the mound and a sub-2.00 ERA, he was high on the list of replacements.
He’s joining what is regarded as 19 of the best of this past season’s crop of juniors in the state.
Last season’s team included three picks in the top 37, including No. 2 overall pick Byron Buxton of Appling County, who was the 2011 team’s center fielder.
Gettys said he was initially nervous at being the youngest player on the team, but he realized quickly that he belonged.
“I was nervous, but once I realized that I can play with these people, I felt better,” he said. “It’s a really good feeling that I get to go. It’s a good opportunity to play against good competition.”
And it’s an opportunity for Gettys and the rest to represent the state, and display just how good Georgia baseball is.
“We’re going to go out there and try to represent the state as best we can,” Gettys said. “Show how good we are.”