Hartsville, SC- Chris Wallace may not have gotten the press his two Hartsville High School teammates got for their work on the mound this past year, but the Hartsville senior did enough to catch the attention of Coker College head baseball coach Dave Schmotzer.

 

"What really attracted us was that Chris is a pretty good two-way player, with him you get two players in one," Schmotzer said. "We were very attracted by the success he had in the Red Foxes' championship run, he threw three good games in the playoffs. He is a good student and a good citizen, which are two qualities we really look for here at Coker."

Wallace was second on the team in wins, posting a 7-1 record with a 1.27 ERA. In 42 1/3 innings, Wallace allowed 14 runs of which eight were earned. He allowed 23 hits, striking out 38, while walking 12 batters.

He threw the Red Foxes' lone no-hitter of the season, holding West Florence hitless back in March.

Wallace has signed a national-letter-of-intent to attend Coker College and play baseball for the Cobras.

"Coker is a perfect fit for Chris," said Hartsville head coach Corey Lewis. "He is the first player from Hartsville High School to go to Coker in a while to play baseball.

"We are looking for him to do big things at Coker. Maybe this will open the doors for some more of our kids to go to Coker in the future," Lewis said.

Wallace chose Coker College over going to Florence-Darlington Technical College.

"I liked the way Coach Schmotzer talked," Wallace said of his decision to stay in Hartsville to play baseball. "I think he will help me mature in baseball."

Wallace added that he was happy to be still playing in Hartsville.

"It is going to be nice playing in front of a bunch of faces that I know," Wallace said.

Schmotzer has had a lot of success landing Hartsville High School players, one of whom includes current Red Fox assistant coach Michael Camak. Greg Batchelor is also another major local recruit for Schmotzer in past years.

"Having a local kid is a goose bump experience, he will bring recognition to the program, and he will bring fans to the stands," Schmotzer said. "He falls right into that mold of great local players like Michael Camak and Greg Batchelor. It's not about recruiting just a local kid, it's about recruiting the five-star local kids and we got that in Chris."

Wallace's numbers on the mound could have been better, but he spent the majority of his time behind the plate as the Red Foxes' number one catcher. He batted .265 with a home run and 21 RBIs.

While Wallace played in a pair of positions at Hartsville High, Schmotzer is expected to use him as pitcher, a move about which Wallace is happy.

"We expect him to have an immediate impact on the mound for us," Schmotzer said. "We think he will come in and immediately get some good innings on the mound for us. I look for him to get some big innings for us pitching this year, while he backs-up senior catcher Julio Gomez. It is important that we don't put too much pressure on his arm to start."

"Coach Schmotzer told me that I will have the chance to be a weekend starter, and that is something that I would want to do my first year," Wallace said. "Plus, they have a senior doing the catching now."

Lewis feels that Wallace would be able to play either position for Coker the next four years.

"He is more than capable of doing both jobs at Coker," Lewis said. "From what I understand they are going to look at him primarily to pitch. He has command of three pitches and excellent control. When he is on, he is as good as we had this year. He can step right in and get hitters out at that level.

"Everybody understood that Chris was really better than a number three pitcher. He was just stuck in that role, because he was more valuable to us a catcher. He did throw two really good games for us in the playoffs."

Wallace said that Schmotzer told him to start running to get ready for next season.

"I will be throwing out of the bullpen later this summer," Wallace said.

Schmotzer said the main thing that Wallace has to work on is the mental part of the game, which is the biggest difference between high school and college ball.

"He needs to work on his strength, which will come with maturity, and his conditioning, just like all players," said Schmotzer. "He will also have to work on making a mental adjustment to the college game. In college you have to be ready to play every day mentally, so that will be an adjustment at first, but I feel Chris will catch on quickly."

Wallace was happy the way his senior season ended at Hartsville. Not only did the Red Foxes win the state title, but he was selected to play in the North/South All-Star baseball game.

"It (winning the state championship) brought a lot of recognition to Hartsville," Wallace said.

Wallace hasn't decided what he is going to major in at Coker.

View: Mobile | Desktop