Garrett Staton doesn’t miss often.
He led North Forsyth with 16 hits this season, carrying a .400 batting average into region play while launching two home runs to match last year’s total.
Staton doesn’t miss often, but he did miss baseball.
Sidelined since the spring season was canceled, Staton did all he could to train while at home, hitting off a tee, staying in shape and waiting for baseball to resume.
It finally did this past week, as North Forsyth’s senior slugger returned to the field with his showcase team, Team Elite, helping them to a win in the Prep Baseball Report tournament at LakePoint in Emerson.
“Getting to see live pitching in games and stuff like that, it’s so much fun,” Staton said. “I missed it so much.”
Staton, the 2020 Forsyth County News Player of the Year, admitted he couldn’t wait to come back from vacation so he could play baseball.
“It was just so much fun getting back out there again,” Staton said. “I was ecstatic to come home from the beach and be able to play again. Just to see and play baseball on a field, with fans and teammates and everything. It was just a lot of fun.”
Staton finished his senior season on a tear, helping the Raiders to a 9-0 blowout victory over Walnut Grove in what was ultimately the final game of the season. He went 3 for 4 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored in the win.
Staton’s first home run of the season came Feb. 21 during the Raiders’ 3-1 against Ola. The homer came off UGA commit Patrick Holloman, one of the top pitchers in the state and a familiar face to Staton.
A line drive to left field, Staton hustled toward first base thinking he had an extra-base hit. He did, but it ended up being a couple more bases than he imagined.
“I think it was the first or second pitch I saw. It was just a low fastball, which is right in my zone,” Staton said. “I played with Patrick the past summer, and even in that fall I played against him, and I’ve had his number. It was just a low fastball. I saw it and I was just sitting on it dead red. I was just ready to hit it. It felt really good off the bat.”
Even teammate Anthony DiMola isn’t sure how to get Staton out.
DiMola walked Staton the last time they faced one another, which came during a scrimmage, remembering the at-bat lasted about 10 pitches.
“Garrett’s definitely got a presence in the box. As a pitcher you notice it and you pick it up,” DiMola said. “He’s one of those guys you don’t really know what to throw, except maybe fastball down and away. Definitely don’t leave it over the plate, or you know he’s got the power to take it out on any pitch if you miss. He’s just an all-around hitter. He’s just a guy that, he comes up and you’re like, this is probably their guy.”
Staton is also dangerous on the basepaths, leading the Raiders with seven stolen bases in 12 games.
In the fall, Staton will play for a Samford team that tied a school record for wins in a season last year with 41.
The Bulldogs, who were 13-2 before the season was canceled, won 78 games from 2018-19.
“I’ve always really liked Samford. I knew they were a really good team,” Staton said. “Not a huge school, but they’ve been getting 40-plus wins the past couple seasons. I love the coach, too. The coaches there are awesome. They’ve always been successful, and that’s what I want – other people that just want to be together and win all the time.”