New role not a problem

By Kevin Eckleberry

May 12, 2014

Austin Garrett spent the off-season expecting to be an outfielder for the Callaway Cavaliers.

He was a part-time player a year ago, and the expectation was that he’d be a full-time starter this season.

Garrett has indeed been an every-day player, but not as an outfielder.

The season had barely started when Garrett’s role changed in a drastic way.

When infielder Jaylen Colton went down with an injury, it was obvious some players were going to have to be moved around.

So Garrett came in from the outfield and became the Cavaliers’ starting shortstop, and that is where he has remained throughout the season.

When Callaway takes the field for today’s quarterfinal match-up against Callaway, Garrett will be in his customary position at shortstop, and he’ll be the anchor of an infield defense that has been performing superbly of late.

“I’m just more comfortable since I’ve been playing for most of the season,” Garrett said. “I’ve just gone out there trying to make plays for the team.”

Callaway coach Dusty Hubbard toyed around with some different possibilities when Colton was injured, and in the end, he figured the best move would be to let Garrett move to the infield.

“He’s really solidified the position,” Hubbard said. “He’s made some great plays. The more he works at it the better he gets.”

There were some growing pains early in the season, but Garrett worked closely with the coaches, and eventually he became a superb shortstop.

“When the thing happened with Jaylen, that’s what brought me in. I knew I had to step up then,” Garrett said. “I had experience playing infield, but not much. But we have a great coaching staff, and I knew they were going to have me ready for it.”

Garrett has gotten it done offensively as well.

Garrett usually hits second in the order behind Nick O’Berry, and he is hitting .317 with nine RBIs and a team-high 32 runs scored.

Garrett is also second on the team to O’Berry with 17 stolen bases, and he has only been caught twice.

“If I get on, I have a shot at scoring, that’s the way I look at it,” Garrett said. “We have guys behind me that can either bunt me over, or I can try to take second and they’ll drive me in.”

Garrett can’t wait to take the field at today against Cartersville in the third round of the state playoffs.

“I’m ready. I was ready since we got done with the last game,” Garrett said. “We’re hungry now. We’re trying to move on.”