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ALL-COUNTY BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Wyatt Crowell, West Forsyth
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Despite being committed to Florida State as a pitcher, Wyatt Crowell thrived at the plate during his junior year at West. - photo by Ian Frazer

West Forsyth’s Wyatt Crowell sees himself as a pitcher first.

It’s the position that he’s committed to play exclusively at Florida State after he graduates, and entering his junior year, his preparations for the upcoming high school season were done with that in mind. From May to October 2018, Crowell didn’t even swing a bat.

But by the time the fall months rolled around, Crowell found out that he’d have to be a part of the Wolverines’ lineup after all.

“Hitting was definitely unexpected for me,” he said. “I kind of just got to November and then I picked up a bat and had to start hitting because I'm a big part of the lineup for high school.”

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Crowell was set to be one of the county's top pitchers this year, but after an elbow injury derailed those plans, he made up for it at the plate. - photo by Ian Frazer
What was perhaps more unexpected was how dangerous he’d end up being with with a bat in his hand. While West’s baseball season as a whole was a disappointment, Crowell’s production at the plate wasn’t. He adjusted back to hitting quickly, collecting a .414 average for the season with seven doubles and three triples. After he was sidelined from his pitching duties to protect his throwing arm, those contributions at the plate became even more valuable to the Wolverines.

“Everything just came together and I was hitting a lot,” Crowell said. “Once we got rolling and stuff, I felt fine. It felt like I had been swinging the whole year. I pick it up easily.”

Crowell began the year pitching regularly as well, but early in the season, he began to feel some discomfort in his elbow. Not wanting to aggravate it further, West’s coaches shut him down for almost the entirety of the rest of the season.

“I kind of have weird mechanics and I kind of throw more sidearm,” Crowell said. “I think I just hurt my arm from that and then I had to rest it. I didn't want to overdo it and rush back too early and get hurt again.”

Indeed, Crowell didn’t see any more action from the mound until West’s late-season tilt with Forsyth Central on April 17, and that start lasted less than two innings after a promising first frame turned into a rough second.

But despite not being able to pitch, Crowell was productive as an outfielder and came away with big hits when they mattered most. He hit .469 in Region 5-7A games, and connected on two of his three total triples in a game against Lambert on March 18.

“That was the most fun,” Crowell said.

While Crowell was able to put together a successful season despite his circumstances, it wasn’t enough for him and the rest of his team. He’s looking forward to being a dual threat on the hill and at the plate during his upcoming senior year.

“It was a lot of fun but we also lost a lot,” Crowell said. “We're just waiting until next year (to) try to turn it around.”