Blog reader Vera Woodson in an email described herself as a marketing teacher at West Springfield High School (Springfield, Va.) and a “mentor” for Bobby Wahl.
She has shared some insight into the Rebels’ No. 1 pitcher. Woodson says she attended most of Wahl’s high school games and would work to be a constant encourager yelling “Be a champion Bob-O” from the stands. “He knows that voice and chant, even if he thought I was nuts,” she said.
If the Rebels were to have a chance to conquer and advance in the College Station Regional, they were going to have to be strong on the mound. Bobby Wahl and Mike Mayers have given them two great starts, and the offense has delivered enough timely hits and runs to be successful.
Pitching is getting thinner now, and others will have to rise to the occasion. By winning the first two games the Rebels, of course, have the huge advantage of sitting and resting during today’s 12:35 elimination game between host Texas A&M and TCU.
There have been a number of clutch performances in two regional games for Ole Miss, Wahl’s being one.
Having watched him throughout his high school career, here’s Woodson’s assessment of what makes Wahl tick.
Clutch player: “Bobby is a clutch player. He does really well when he is in pressure situations. (This seemed to be the case on Friday – PA) He is a little withdrawn if the pressure isn’t high to perform, so early in some games he took it in stride. He also did this in the classroom.When he was sent in to impact the bottom line of any game he delivered with high intensity. He is still doing this today.
He should always be the Closer! He is too relaxed in the beginning of any game. He needs the pressure.”
Wanting to be ‘The Guy’: “Like any mentor, I wanted Bob to succeed. When we chatted at Chipotle his first return trip home, during college break, he stressed that he wanted to step up and be the guy to be counted upon. Just as we had discussed in years past I told him his time would come. When he was a sophomore at West Springfield, he had a very difficult time waiting his turn behind Mike Kent (another one of my students, a pitcher and standout at Clemson). I used the entire scenario in my classroom (teaching Marketing) to teach students about doing the little things before you are ready to make an impact on the big things. It stirred Bobby so much that he focused on becoming a great supporter of his teammates and in the process was prepping himself to rise to the status of captain the next year. He was already in the pipeline, but his character was being tested. He is impatient with success, however he has learned and trained himself to remain humble.
The cap: Inside the bill of his cap are all of the things that keep him focused. The number 19 is prominent in the center. He chose his jersey number to honor his late grandfather, a major influence in his life. His Mom, Dad, and brother Jack on the side of the rim. The side he touches the most while pitching. This “cap thing” started from Bryn Renner, another West Springfield standout, now starting quarterback at UNC (he played with Bobby on the state championship team).