Britnell and Letson lead BSC
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
Every boy who puts on a little league baseball uniform dreams of one day playing pro baseball. Two former Hartselle High Tigers who have that dream may soon see it realized.
Josh Britnell and Wes Letson are both juniors at Birmingham Southern College. They are both pitchers. One throws right-handed the other left. The upcoming amateur baseball draft in May could be a happy time for both. Their coaches expect them to be selected and given a chance at pro ball.
"It's always been a dream of mine to play pro ball," Britnell said. "Ever since I started pitching in high school I hoped to pitch for a living one day."
Letson is just as excited about the possibility as Britnell.
"It would mean a lot to me to be in pro ball," Letson said. "Every kid who picks up a baseball wants to play in the majors one day. Getting drafted would be the start to getting there."
Britnell, who has a 10-1 career record at BSC, considers himself a control pitcher.
"I throw in the high 80s," Britnell said. "My best pitch is my fastball, but I get most of my strikeouts on my change up."
Letson, who is 7-4 in his college career, views himself as a power pitcher.
"I throw in the low 90s," Letson said. "That's not major league standards of power pitching, but I think of myself as a power pitcher."
Both players think their experience in high school prepared them well for the dream they hope to pursue.
"There are such high standards for players at Hartselle," Britnell said. "It's exciting to play there. When I was in school, we went to South Carolina one time and Florida another time to play teams out of state. Most high schools don't do that, we played some great competition."
"There is so much tradition there," Letson said. "Coach (William) Booth expects the best from everyone on the team and nothing less. It's like the Yankees, everybody wants to play for the Yankees. In Morgan County every kid wants to play for the Hartselle varsity."
Britnell and Letson were both members of the 2000 state championship team.
Britnell was the winning pitcher in the clinching game of the championship series.
Should their dreams of he major leagues not materialize, both say they are working hard in the classroom.
Britnell is majoring in math and hopes to be a teacher as well as a coach someday.
"I would like to be a high school baseball coach," Britnell said. "Or I would like to coach basketball, it was my favorite sport until I found out I could get to college by pitching."
Letson, who is majoring in art, hopes to be an architect after his playing days are over.
Both players say their parents never pushed them into playing. Britnell and Letson both say it was their choice and they never felt pressure from their parents to play baseball.
"I don't know if I would love the game the way I do today," Letson said. "If my parents had made me play as a kid, I probably wouldn't be playing today."
Britnell feels you have to believe in yourself to succeed in baseball.
Britnell says he learned this trait from his former coach.
"There's a cockiness about coach Booth," Britnell said. "It's a good cockiness and it filters down to his players. When you play for that man you think you're going to win every time you step on the field. That's what I've learned, I believe I'm going to win every time I take the mound."