Wetumpka rising junior Ty Brooks still has two years of high school baseball left in front of him, but the slick-fielding shortstop went ahead and made his college decision this week.
Brooks announced on Twitter on Saturday that he has committed to play college baseball at the University of South Alabama. He chose the Jaguars over Missouri, Kansas State, Troy and others.
Brooks and South Alabama head coach Mark Calvi began talking back in February. As those talks heated up, Calvi offered Brooks in March, but Brooks wanted to wait until the summer to make his decision.
Despite not making an immediate decision, Calvi and his staff stayed on Brooks and continued to build a relationship with him. So when the summer ended, Brooks knew exactly where he wanted to commit.
“I just felt like South Alabama is where I needed to play for the next four years,” Brooks said. “I feel wanted there. I feel like they want me to be a part of their program and I want to be a part of theirs, so that was what led me to commit this early.”
Brooks’ strength is in his glove at shortstop, but he is no slouch at the plate either. In a successful sophomore season where he helped lead Wetumpka to a 22-10 record and an area championship, he hit .318 with 34 hits, 3 doubles and 24 RBIs.
For his efforts, he was named second-team All-County by the Wetumpka Herald.
His performance and numbers prove that South Alabama is getting both a skilled defender and hitter in their program in the future, but Wetumpka head coach Michael Dismukes believes the Jaguars are getting much more than just a player.
“Ty is a leader not only on the field, but also in the locker room for us,” Dismukes said. “He comes to work every day and you can tell he’s about business. That’s paid off for him and it couldn’t have happened to a better person. South Alabama is getting a guy who really loves to grind and plays the game the right way.”
South Alabama’s consistency, especially under coach Calvi, was one of the main reasons that Brooks was so interested in the Jaguars.
Since Calvi took over as head coach after the 2011 season, South Alabama has won three Sun Belt Conference championships and two SBC Tournament championships.
The most recent tournament championship came this year, when the Jaguars went 36-22 with a 15-9 conference record and earned the No. 1 seed in the East in the SBC tournament.
After going 4-0 to win the tournament championship, the Jaguars were sent to the Gainesville Regional as a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. South Alabama played spoiler in the regional by eliminating both No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Miami before falling to South Florida in the regional championship.
That success was one of the main factors that played into Brooks’ commitment.
“Out of my options, they’ve definitely been the most consistent program over the last few years,” Brooks said. “Everything is steady. The coaching staff does a really good job and coach Calvi has done really well since he’s been there. That’s the kind of person I want to play for.”
Going forward, Brooks is happy the recruiting process is out of the way and he can just focus on playing baseball.
He plans to continue to work hard in the weight room to increase his strength and speed, and he has high expectations for the Wetumpka Indians in 2022.
The bulk of the Wetumpka baseball team is returning this upcoming year. The Indians return eight starters in the field along with nearly every pitcher on the staff.
“We’ve got big things going on at Wetumpka,” Brooks said. “Of course, the goal is to win a state championship, but really if we can make sure we go out there and compete and get after it every time we step inside those lines, then that’s all you can really ask for. Everything else will take care of itself. I think this year we are really going to have a shot.”