Special To The Press
BRISTOL - The Bristol Bluesâ€™ Garrett Blaylock has a lot to look forward to this upcoming year, such as his first year in college. The Blues infielder will be entering his freshman year at Vanderbilt University in the fall, where he has committed to play baseball.
Blaylock believes that his time with the Blues is giving him the opportunity to take reps and not head into the season rusty with his mechanics. It also gives him that maturing experience in order to thrive in college baseball.
â€śI am just really trying to grow up in the game and mature,â€ť Blaylock said. â€śIt is a great experience to have a host family up here and be on my own a little bit and to be away from my family - my real family - and it just lets you grow up.â€ť
While Blaylock considers his stint with the Blues as an opportunity to stay sharp, he has been more than that on the field so far this summer. Entering Wednesdayâ€™s action, he led Bristol with a .425 batting average in 40 at-bats. He is also one of 12 Blues players with a home run and his nine RBI are tied for seventh on the team.
Blaylock admits it was Vanderbilt coaches who thought it would be a good idea for him to play summer ball to be able to play with other college students and to get to use to the different competition.
â€śIt is good to log in some at-bats and get a repetition of the game before we go back to campus,â€ť Blaylock said. â€śThey wanted me to get as many reps as I could before heading to the school.â€ť
Blaylock is not the only Vanderbilt student on this summerâ€™s Blues team. He is accompanied by infielder Jayson Gonzalez and Blaylock says Gonzalez was also encouraged by the coaches to join the Blues this summer.
The North Carolina native was an elite talent back at T.C. Roberson High School. In his junior year, Blaylock hit .471 with 31 RBIs, nine doubles, four triples and four home runs. Blaylock scored 31 runs for Roberson that season, as the team went undefeated against Western North Carolina competition.
Blaylock was also a pitcher in his high school days and came up clutch in the big games. He was 7-1 with a 1.45 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings.
Blues manager Ronnie Palmer has noticed the great approach Blaylock has demonstrated during his time with the team this season. He applauds Blaylock for his preparedness for every situation.
â€śHe just has a tough mentality,â€ť Palmer said. â€śGarrett is a quality hitter and he understands things and different situations.â€ť
Blaylockâ€™s favorite teams are the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Nationals. His favorite players are Corey Seager from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Bryce Harper from the Nationals.
In his free time, Blaylock remains active by going fishing and hiking, while also enjoying music from Migos. He also stays in touch with his religious views by going to church.
With 2017 being a year of firsts for Blaylock, he is just happy to get a taste with the Blues of what is to come for him as he embarks his new journey at college.
Kimberly Pena can be reached at email@example.com On Twitter: @Kimberly_P12