Yellowjackets’ baseball player Mason Adkins going Division I

Williamstown shortstop?chooses Western Carolina

Williamstown’s Mason Adkins signs his National Letter of Intent to the NCAA’s Division I Western Carolina University baseball team Sunday at Williamstown First United Methodist Church. Adkins made school history as the first Yellowjacket baseball player to sign with a Division I school. Photo by Joe Albright

WILLIAMSTOWN –A journey begun at the age of 2 with the swing of a baseball bat culminated for Williamstown’s Mason Adkins Sunday surrounded by friends and family inside the multi-purpose room of the Williamstown First United Methodist Church.

The Yellowjacket senior shortstop, who hit .348 with a .652 on-base percentage and 18 hit by pitches during the 2016-17 season, signed his National Letter of Intent to Division I Western Carolina University a little after 1 p.m.

“The journey has been fun,” said Mark Adkins, Mason’s father. “It is fun getting to spend time with your son. It may be a lot of hard work, but it has been great. He has always had a love for the game so I never really had to push him to make him want to play. Maybe I did push him a little early on to get the most of his talent so he always worked and strived to get better. Baseball is a game of failure and you have to learn to deal with that failure. The mental part of the game is just as important as the physical part, which is what I had to get him to buy into with that process.”

“We are real proud,” said Williamstown Head Coach Terry Smith. “Macy works so hard and he deserves this. He sets an example by being there every day, working hard and leaving late. He is just everything you want and is easy to coach.

“I think any program is good for a guy who is good at baseball,” continued Smith when asked if his player was a good fit at WCU.

“He hits left handed and doesn’t swing at bad pitches, which is good for anybody. He can play anywhere in the field and is a really good athlete.”

Summer ball was where the Catamount coaching staff received the first look at one of their newest recruits. Adkins, who plays summer ball with the Huntington Hounds, was at the Perfect Game’s World Wood Bat Tournament in Atlanta, Ga., earlier this year.

WCU Assistant Coach Brock Doud scouted him in one game, before Head Coach Bobby Moranda watched him play in the outfield, the position Adkins was recruited to play, in another game.

Though the Catamounts want him in the outfield, Adkins was adamant he would play anywhere. “I know I have to work my way on and am just looking for an opportunity,” he added.

Making friends is a large part of the college experience, and Adkins has plenty of opportunities to make new bonds as he doesn’t know anyone on the team yet. He plans on keeping up with the other recruits from his signing class on social media with Snapchat and Twitter, but won’t meet the rest of his teammates until he arrives at school.

A few other programs looked at him, but only one stood out in his mind.

“I talked to Marshall a little bit, but once I went down to visit WCU I loved it down there,” said a nervous Adkins of the Cullowhee, N.C. campus.

He joins a team coming off a 33-33 record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament’s Regional round.

Education-wise, Adkins plans on majoring in nursing as he “likes the human body and the medical field.”

He felt a weight had been lifted off his shoulders with the signing out of the way. “It is awesome,” he added.

However, before he turns his focus to suiting up in purple and gold Adkins wants to cap off his senior season in style by helping the Yellowjackets to an appearance in the state tournament at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston.

“I want to win it all,” he exclaimed.

Adkins also made a little school history by being the first Yellowjacket baseball player to sign a D-I NLI.