Athlete of the Week: Nelson a triple threat for Seahawks

Jesse Nelson has been a fixture in the field and at the plate for the Myrtle Beach High baseball team.

This season the senior is also getting it done on the mound for the Seahawks, making him an important jack-of-all-trades player for Myrtle Beach and earning him the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week award.

“Jesse is a great kid and a hard worker,” said Myrtle Beach coach Tim Christy. “He has developed into a quality hitter and is coming into his own as a pitcher.  Most importantly, he has established himself as one of our team leaders. Most folks don’t know this, but he is the only player who has started for me for the last six years.  Other coaches don’t think he will ever graduate.”

This year opposing hitters are also starting to wonder when they won’t have to face Nelson again. He hurled a complete-game three-hitter in last week’s 3-1 win over North Myrtle Beach last week and earned a 2-1 decision against Socastee the week before, giving him two huge victories over region rivals.

“I worked hard in the offseason on pitching, just improving my stamina and my arm strength,” Nelson said. “I also worked on adding a knuckle ball, which has worked well for me this year. When I throw it for a strike it works well for me. It’s nice to have when nothing else is working.”

But everything seems to be working for Nelson this season. After starting in left field as a seventh-grader, Nelson has worked his way around the diamond by playing first base and right field when he’s not on the mound. He’s also become an effective hitter in the heart of the batting order.

“I started playing baseball in the rec leagues when I was young and I was pretty big in the seventh grade, so they put me in left field,” Nelson recalled. “I didn’t pitch much because we really didn’t have anyone else to play first, but I’m getting my chance this year.”

Nelson’s emergence has coincided with the Seahawks’ return to the top ranks of Region 7-3A. After playing a tough non-region schedule, Myrtle Beach is 6-5 overall but 4-1 in region play, putting them at the top of the standings with defending champion St. James and Socastee.

“Coach tells us it’s time to have a champion in town, but we have to play like we’re No. 1 to be No. 1,” Nelson said. “As a senior it would be nice to go out on top, but we just have to keep working hard and step up and do our job.”

Or, in Nelson’s case, jobs. It was that do-it-all attitude that helped him land an invitation to play college ball at Florence-Darlington Tech next year. After six seasons at the varsity level, a lot of opposing coaches and players will be happy to finally see him go to the next level.

 

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