Athlete of the Week: Wicker has Seahawks flying high

Senior leadership is often an intangible quality that’s hard to define. But for Myrtle Beach baseball standout Wilson Wicker and his senior teammates and classmates, it’s easy to measure.

Last year at this time the Seahawks were putting away their bats and gloves for the season after a disappointing 6-16 record left them out of the postseason. This year the Seahawks are flying high with a 12-9 mark and a No. 3 seed in the upcoming Class 3A playoffs.

“Everything has changed since last year – our team chemistry, our approach to the game, how we cheer everybody on,” said Wicker, who was voted the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week following the Seahawks’ sweep through the Mingo Bay Classic. “We didn’t want to let what happened in 2012 happen again.

“We knew coming in to this season that the biggest things was changing the culture of our team. Before it was a bunch of kids yelling at each other. Now we cheer each other on and encourage each other to do better. It’s paying off for us on the field.”

Wicker has been a big part of the Seahawks’ turnaround season at the plate, hovering around the elusive .400 mark all year. But his presence has been strongest behind the plate, serving as a coach on the field while crouching as the catcher.

It’s no coincidence that he was behind the plate for four different shutouts from four different starters during the Mingo Bay tournament. Wicker’s steady presence behind the plate has helped Myrtle Beach boast one of the deepest staffs in the region.

“Our pitching this year has jumped up so much better than last year,” Wicker said. “Brandon (Dorsey) and Jesse Nelson are our workhorses right now, but we’ve got a lot of guys who can step in there and get the job done. Any given day I’m completely comfortable working with any of them.”

The Seahawks’ surge this season has them focused on more than just a playoff berth. Now that they’re in, they want to win their way to the end, a feat that may not be so far-fetched given Myrtle Beach’s combination of depth and talent on the mound and a difficult schedule against one of the top regions in the Lower State.

“We’ve played a tough schedule out of the region, and (title contenders and rivals) St. James and Socastee are two of the best teams in the state,” Wicker said. “We’ve played some close games with them and beaten some very good teams and that should help us in the playoffs.”

Regardless of how it ends, Wicker can graduate knowing he helped turn his high school program around. But he also has reason to be excited about next year, when he fulfills his dream of playing Division I baseball at The Citadel, his top choice since nearly birth.

“My dad went there and my uncles went there, so I was raised knowing about it and loving every aspect of it,” Wicker said. “I want to play baseball professionally one day and hopefully playing at The Citadel will make me better.”

And vice versa.


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