Watson ready to pitch at WSC
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
Adjusting to college life is a challenge for most young people. The adjustment can be harder for an athlete whose mother has taken care of his daily needs so he could concentrate on his sport. Take for example Joey Watson, a former Hartselle High standout, who is now a freshman at Wallace State College.
Watson's six months on the Hanceville campus have taught him a lot about the work his mother Connie did while he was growing up.
"It's hard to start taking care of yourself. My mom took care of all my washing and my cooking and doing the dishes," Watson said. "I never knew how much time all those things took. I realize now that she spent a lot of time caring for me."
Watson, who is living by himself just off campus in an apartment, has also come to realize that cooking can be a challenge.
"I cook a little I guess. It's tough, sometimes I don't cook very well, you know it's my first time away from home," Watson said.
The adjustments have continued on the diamond. Wallace State coach Randy Puttman told Watson the difference between college baseball and the high school game.
"Coach explained that the hitters in college are better than the ones we faced in high school," Watson said. "If you leave the ball up to a college hitter, he will hit it for a home run. In high school you could get away with mistakes, but up here you can't."
One change Watson likes is the amount of time he spends in class at Wallace. He enjoys the schedule of college courses being placed though out the week instead of spending eight hours each day in school.
Watson's dream is to play in the major leagues some day. Should his dream not become reality he has another goal that he may reach through his studies.
"God willing, if I don't make pro ball, I would like to take over my dad's business," Watson said. "I'm majoring in business management to prepare myself to run it someday."
Watson credits his father Jimmy with his college baseball scholarship.
"My dad built an indoor facility for my brothers (Brandon and Presley) before I got into baseball," Watson said.
"When I started playing, I used it year round. I pitched all the time, even in bad weather or during the winter.
"That's why I'm here at Wallace, all that practice, all those reps."
Watson's adjustment to college has been made easier by the presence of one familiar face. His Hartselle High teammate Tyler Eddy. Eddy, also a freshman at Wallace, hopes to go into real estate if he isn't drafted into pro ball.
Coach Puttman expects both former Tigers to contribute this coming season. Puttman has not made up his mind if the pair will be used in the starting rotation or as relievers. That decision will come shortly before the season opener on Feb. 14.
Watson, who gained notoriety for the ability to pitch well both right and left-handed, thinks of himself as a better pitcher from the left side.
"I think I have a little more control from the left," Watson said. "I throw harder from the right side, but I'm probably better as a lefty."
His coach agrees.
"We'll have him pitch from both sides this year, but we like him better from the left side," Puttman said. "Good left-handers are hard to find at the college level and we think Joey is a good lefthander."