From behind the plate, the two were never that far away and now, even if Wilkerson platoons as an outfielder at Methodist University, only a few miles separate the pair.
Fairmont’s all-county standout will play for Tom Austin’s Monarchs in Fayetteville next season after switching a previous commitment to Catawba Valley Community College earlier this month.
“I felt happier at a school that’s right up the road,” Wilkerson said. “Catawba Valley was like three and a half hours away and my mom’s never missed one of my games. I need her to be there.”
Wilkerson, a career .341 hitter for the Golden Tornadoes, recently met with Austin about his role as freshman. With a quick bat and good speed, he’s likely to be in the lineup his first season. Lumberton’s Chris Power started 30 games at catcher this spring, hitting .253 with 10 RBI.
“I’ve played a little outfield in the past and we talked about that,” Wilkerson said. “I’m a catcher and that’s where I’ll begin, but I’m up for playing in the outfield.”
In March, Austin won his 1,000th game at the Division III program in his 33rd season. Playing for a legend was another attention-grabber for Wilkerson.
“He’s a disciplinarian and everyone that has played for him says he’s strict,” Wilkerson said. “I’ll just looking forward to getting up there and competing. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Methodist’s baseball team.”
Wilkerson will be on an academic scholarship at the private institution. His intended major is history.