Walsh looks to leave his mark

Photo: Connor Walsh (Perfect Game)

Nate Schweers
Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Connor Walsh was sitting in his car following a game at the 17u WWBA National Championship last month when he got the call: he was going to be a PG All-American. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound shortstop from Niceville, Florida would be joining his teammates Judson Fabian and Joseph Charles in San Diego, and in his own words, “It was an awesome feeling.”

Walsh is one of nine players from the state of Florida that will play on national television at Petco Park on August 12. This elite group, along with 43 other players from across the country, will compete live on MLB Network in what has become baseball’s most elite invitation for rising seniors.

Perfect Game All-Americans are chosen based off a collective body of work during their time at Perfect Game events. However, the National Showcase – at Tropicana Field this past June – is one of the final chances for these players to prove they belong. Walsh made the most of his opportunity, running a 6.25-second 60-yard dash while showing off some of the best hitting tools in the class of 2019.

While the game itself is a great honor, Walsh is looking forward to the chance to give back during his time in San Diego. Every year, players participating in the Perfect Game All-American Classic visit Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. With all the proceeds of the game going to pediatric cancer research and treatment, the players get to meet the young faces they are helping.

“Obviously playing in the game will be great, but what I think I’m most excited for is getting to meet all of the kids at Rady Children’s Hospital,” said Walsh. “It’s so nice to be able to give back to kids that are going through so much when you are out there having the time of your life.”

The opportunity to visit Rady Children’s Hospital makes the PG All-American Classic one of a kind when it comes to prep sports. Every player participating knows that they have been given the opportunity of a lifetime in San Diego, and visiting these kids is always a highlight.

“No other game or event does anything like that. It is awesome to not only play in an incredible environment like Petco Park, but also being able to give back while you’re out there.”

Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Walsh has come a long way in his baseball career. Outside of becoming a Perfect Game All-American, one of his biggest accomplishments is getting the opportunity to play baseball at Mississippi when his time at Niceville Senior High School comes to an end.

“Oxford is such a unique place, and Ole Miss really isn’t like any other college campus. It was the last place I visited out of the five or six schools I went to, and when I stepped off campus I just knew that it was the place I needed to be.”

Walsh isn’t the only player that felt that Mississippi was a special place to be. Fellow Perfect Game All-Americans Jerrion Ealy and Hayden Dunhurst will be joining Walsh in Oxford come the fall of 2019. With three All-Americans included, the Rebels 2019 class ranks as the eighth best in the country according to Perfect Game.

“The coaching staff is incredible,” Walsh added. “They are all great guys, and not only are they going to push you on the field, but they’ll push you off the field to be better in the classroom and the community as well.”

Though not an unpopular decision, choosing Mississippi as the next stop on his baseball journey was certainly a surprising one given his family’s connection to Louisiana State University and the Tigers. Walsh grew up a Tigers fan, but is excited to start a new line of family members that support the Rebels.

“My entire family is from Baton Rouge, so we grew up going to LSU football games and baseball games. All my family went to LSU, so it is kind of different and exciting that I’m going to Ole Miss. It is something cool for me.”

Mississippi certainly has a storied history of success in the SEC. This year’s SEC Tournament champions, Mississippi will look for players like Walsh to continue the positive momentum in Oxford.

After a work-related move to Niceville, Florida, Walsh began going to school at Niceville Senior High School with fellow Perfect Game All-American Reece Hinds.  With only 52 players chosen for the Classic, it is uncommon for the same area to have two players chosen, let alone the same city.

“My dad got a new job in Niceville. He actually took over my mom’s dad’s business. It is such a great area in Niceville, and we really love it here so we’re happy we moved here.”

With his family relocating to Niceville, Walsh has had the opportunity to compete with fellow All-Americans Judson Fabian and Joseph Charles for the Scorpions Founders Club. The Scorpions were able to make a run to the semifinals of the 17u WWBA National Championship in July, and Walsh was a key part of that success.

From Baton Rouge, to Niceville, and now to San Diego, Connor Walsh is leaving his mark on the baseball field everywhere he goes. This will be Walsh’s first trip to California and Petco Park, and with talent he and all the Perfect Game All-Americans have, it may not be his last.

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