It’s a performance that will land him in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces In The Crowd.” It’s also one that will land him in the record books.
Will Robertson has hit six home runs in his last three games. But what’s most impressive about the Falkner High senior’s tear is his solo blast and two grand slams in the first inning of Tuesday’s 17-0 win against Jumpertown.
“I’ve already cut it out,” John Smillie said of a newspaper’s mentioning of Robertson’s feat.
Smillie will be sure to eventually include Robertson’s feat in his Mississippi Baseball Record Book.
“I was pretty surprised,” Robertson said of his accomplishment. “I didn’t realize it was a record.”
His three homers in an inning ties a national high school record; Robertson joined three other players – one from Hawaii and the others from the Midwest, Indiana and Illinois, respectively – as the only ones to do just that.
“On the first homer, the pitch I was looking for was a fastball,” Robertson explained. “The pitch was down and on the inside part of the plate – how I like it.”
The Falkner shortstop and leadoff hitter’s pair of grand slams in a single frame adds his name to a record shared by 21 other players, including Horn Lake’s Brad Covington, who smashed two grannies in an inning against South Pontotoc in 1995.
“I probably would have walked him anyway,” said Falkner baseball coach Chip Johnson when reflecting back on Robertson coming up twice with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first against Jumpertown. “But he (Robertson) just didn’t extend the strike zone.
“He’s going to be pitched around. These coaches aren’t stupid. Yesterday (Tuesday) just seemed like one of those extra special days.”
Robertson’s nine RBIs in that first inning is the second highest total, one shy of the national record, and Jumpertown would then intentionally walk him in the second inning of Tuesday’s game.
So he’s just some high school kid in rural northern Mississippi swinging a hot bat? Well, good for him.
But wait … there’s more.
Never ceases to amaze
Will Robertson is the same Will Robertson that was the heart and soul of the Falkner High football team, a player that made plays all over the field in a number of positions to earn MHSAA Division 1-1A Athlete of the Year honors in 2010.
He’s the same guy who, on the basketball court, averaged nearly 20 points per game to pick up the Division 1-1A MVP award for the 2010-11 season.
“It’s a goal of mine,” Robertson said about being tabbed as, essentially, the division’s player of the year for each of the football, basketball and baseball seasons during an academic year. “I just put a lot of hard work into it.
“It’s just work. It’s worth the work I put into it.”
So he’s another jock that is an excellent athlete? Good for him.
But wait … he’s not just another jock.
“There was one instance last night (Tuesday) that might be considered odd,” said Johnson, who also coaches Robertson in basketball. “After one of his homers, his third homer against Jumpertown, he trots off the field, and on the lawn mower sitting right outside the dugout is my little girl who’s 3.
“He sees her and then runs over there and pulls the key out of the lawn mower and takes it with him back into the dugout.”
Said Robertson, “I didn’t want her to do anything crazy.”
Not with the machine he – yes, Robertson – had used to cut the Falkner football field’s grass when his football coach needed help.
And that’s Robertson in a nutshell: a humble, hard-working kid who isn’t too big to do the most menial of things.
Another record in sight?
With Tuesday’s 6-for-6 performance in a doubleheader against Jumpertown and Walnut, Robertson, a Northeast Mississippi Community College signee, is now hitting .653 (32-for-49) for the year with eight homers and 23 RBIs.
He was a single shy of hitting for the cycle against Walnut.
“He hasn’t seen a lot of good pitches,” Johnson said. “He’s a very disciplined hitter who doesn’t extend the strike zone a lot.
“He hit some bad pitches out. He’s just on a tear, to be honest with you.”
Added Robertson’s skipper, “He’s not a bad pitcher, either.”
That he’s not. The Falkner senior picked up the win in relief against Walnut Tuesday to improve to 4-3 on the year.
The more outstanding numbers are the amount of strikeouts he compiled in a pair of wins against Thrasher: 19 on March 22 and 18 this past Friday night.
“He’s got a very good breaking ball, and he mixes his pitches very well,” Johnson said. “He doesn’t throw in the high-80s consistently; he’s usually in the low-80s with his fastball, but he can gas it up to 85-87 miles per hour.
“His breaking pitch is very good – it’s a sharp breaking pitch. It’s his best pitch.”
The national record for strikeouts in a seven-inning game is 24. The Mississippi record is 21.
“I’ve come close,” said Robertson.
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal