While most of his classmates and friends are relaxing during their summer vacations, Will Welborne has been hard at work on the baseball diamond.By summer’s end Welborne, a senior at Pine Lake Prep, will have gone to college camps at Mary Washington, Washington and Lee, Davidson and Belmont Abbey, while also playing in a tournament for the Dirtbags showcase team and working with his pitching coach, Kevin Visser.While baseball has become a year-round effort for Welborne, 17, he says it is definitely a labor of love.“Playing baseball and everything that goes into it is something that I loved to do since I started playing T-ball when I was 5 years old,” said Welborne, who started playing in the Stewards of the Game league. “There’s never time when you can stop and say, ‘that’s as good as I can be.’ You can always be working on something, getting better at some aspect of the game. I love working hard and seeing the results in baseball and in my everyday life.”Coming off his best high school season, going 4-1 on the mound for Pine Lake Prep, Welborne is working to further develop his low-80 mph fastball as well as his change-up, curveball and knuckleball.At 6 feet 5 inches tall and 185 pounds, Welborne can be imposing on the mound, but he’s also a threat at the plate. He came into his own as a hitter this past season, batting .519 for the Pride while also tallying 22 RBIs . Welborne, who can also played in the outfield and at shortstop, helped his team to a program-best 7-9 record.Welborne went 14-for-16 in a four-game span against Queens Grant, Grace Academy, Community School of Davidson and Lincoln Charter. He had 10 RBIs that week.“I definitely was in the zone there for awhile this season at the plate and just really seeing the ball well,” Welborne said.Pine Lake Prep coach Sean Cotten, was equally impressed.“It didn’t seem like he got an out forever,” said Cotten, who also serves as third base coach. “He would get to third base and I ran out of things to say to him. He just kept getting hits.”Pine Lake Prep closed out its season with one of its best performances in its four-year history, taking a 2-1 lead over 1A state quarterfinalist Lincoln Charter in the bottom of the 5th inning of the Piedmont Charter Athletic Conference title game before falling 4-2. While the loss was a tough way to end the season, it also gave the Pride momentum going into next year.Pine Lake Prep will join Bessemer City, Cherryville, Community School of Davidson, Highland Tech, Lincoln Charter and Thomas Jefferson Academy in the Southern Piedmont 1A in the fall, when N.C. High School Athletic Association realignment takes effect.The Pride is expected to return the entire team from this year.“I feel like we should have the best year we’ve ever had here next season,” Welborne said. “Everything seems like it is coming together for us. ... It’s really exciting.”While baseball plays a large role in Welborne’s life, his college choice will be about academics.An honors and AP student who carries a 4.7 GPA, Welborne is interested in studying to be a doctor of orthopedics or dentistry.He hopes that he can find a school that will give him the opportunity to get a top-flight education while also playing baseball.After years of hard work in the classroom and on the field, that combination would be a dream come true. “School has always been my No. 1 priority and that hasn’t and won’t change,” Welborne said. “But I really hope that I can also play baseball in college, because that is a dream I have had since I was a little boy watching North Carolina play in the College World Series.”
Friday, Jun. 21, 2013
Pine Lake Prep senior makes most of summer
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less