South Charlotte

Facing a big decision

Brett Austin has a huge decision, but for now, he's taking some time off from baseball to relax and enjoy the summer.

Austin, the star catcher form Providence High School, was drafted 54th overall in the Major League Baseball draft on June 6. The San Diego Padres selected him as compensation for catcher Yorvit Torrealba signing as a free agent with Texas.

Austin also has signed to play college ball with N.C. State.

He must decide where he'll play next.

Austin was only the second catcher drafted through the first 54 picks and is regarded as one of the top prospects in the country.

"For a few days, my phone was blowing up with friends and families calling to wish me luck and congratulate me," Austin said.

"I am just a high school kid and have not made it yet, but those few days were fun living sort of like a celebrity."

Austin was last year's Southwestern 4A conference player of the year and led the Panthers to a national ranking and a third straight conference championship.

"That was the best part of the season for me, the 'three-peat' of conference championships. I don't think that has ever been done," Austin said.

To win the regular-season title, Providence needed a win in a late season showdown with Ardrey Kell. Trailing by one run in the bottom of the seventh inning, Austin hit the game-tying home run. The Panthers scored again and went on to win.

"My best moment was hitting that home run," Austin said. "It was such a big moment and big game, and I will always remember it."

Austin had plenty of big moments this year. He hit .537 on the season, scored 47 runs, blasted 12 home runs and 10 doubles, had 38 RBI's and stole 14 bases.

Austin says his parents will have input into his choice, but in the end it will be his decision.

"I really can't go wrong," Austin said.

He and his family have put in a signing bonus request and are waiting to hear back on if it goes through.

"The decision will have to be made in the next couple of weeks, but I am confident that either way I will make the right one," Austin said.