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Bob Jones freshman Joshua Wilhide, center, holds his plaque for winning the Major League Baseball Junior Homerun Derby. Wilhide is also regarded as an elite pitcher and has been selected for the USA Baseball Champions Cup competition. Photo Contributed

Joshua Wilhide Is Making His Spot In Local Baseball Both As A Pitcher And Catcher

MADISON- Joshua Wilhide has been a jock from day one. He played soccer from ages four to nine, basketball beginning at age five, tackled the sport of football through middle school and has had a spot on the baseball diamond in the All-American sport since age four. In other words, he was born to play.

Today, the 14-year old freshman at Bob Jones High is making his way to a spot on the Patriots’ baseball team next spring and has presented the team’s coaching staff some impressive credentials for his efforts. Most recently, the super talented, multi-position-playing athlete attended the 14-U Team Southeast USA Baseball Champions Cup in Cary, N.C. He was selected to paly on one of the two teams formed from the Southeast Region with 18 players on each of the squads comprised from six regions of USA Baseball. The four-day event was held at the USA National Training Complex located on the outskirts of Raleigh where the chosen elite will play baseball in front of the National Team task force. From the Champions Cup, players will be selected to represent the USA on national teams competitions.

“I believe I was chosen mainly because of my catching statistics and my pitching arm velocity,” said Wilhide, who will play both pitcher and catcher in school competition and also both first and third base in his treks in travel leagues. “While I’m pitching in game situations, I feel I’m in control, while catching I feel I’m in contribution mode helping the team while working with the pitchers.”

Wilhide is 5-foot-11 and weighs in at 174 pounds. Even at age seven Wilhide said he realized he was more physically developed and stronger than others his age. “When I was nine years old, I played up in age divisions with the 12-year old team and then I realized I was definitely better than most others,” said Wilhide.

The son of Brent and Susan Wilhide is one of three siblings within the family that lived a military lifestyle due to Brent working in the military. The family finally parked in Madison as Brent retired in 2020 after 31 years of military service. Their daughter Julia is a 2021 graduate of Bob Jones and attends UAH while son Jacob was among the 2022 class and attends the University of Alabama. Both earned academic scholarships. Jacob played baseball for Bob Jones where in his senior season was 7-0 and posted a 1.34 ERA on the mound for the Pats.

Wilhide and his brother joined together growing up playing Wiffleball and always having a baseball nearby. It was those experiences that helped Wilhide develop his now competitive spirit on the baseball field.

At a young age his pitching arm seemed to always be stronger than others and presented high velocity pitches to the plate. At Discovery Middle School he tossed three no-hitters including two against crosstown Liberty Middle School. This past spring as an eighth grader Wilhide had a perfect 5-0 record and less than one ERA.

In 2019 Wilhide was among the 11U team from Madison which won the Dizzy Dean World Series in Southaven, Miss. The victory was the first time in the history of Madison Baseball a team from any level won a World Series event. Wilhide was named to the All-Tournament Team and was selected World Series Most Valuable Player.

The 2022 season has been one of triumphs for Wilhide as he played in the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association JV All-Star event, participated in the Alabama Prep Baseball Report Rising Star showcase evaluation, played in the Perfect Game World Series in Gulf Shores and won the local competition of the Major League Baseball Junior Homerun Derby swatting 14 homers.

“While pitching I feel I have a relaxed mind as I stay calm after each pitch,” said Wilhide. “I have what is known as a normal leg kick, but I have a long stride and throw over the top style. As a catcher, I have a strong arm and good footwork. I believe I don’t flinch when the ball gets near the plate as I keep my eyes straight ahead. At the plate, I love the feel of the ball when it comes off the bat. As a pitch comes in, I know it’s perfect.”

Wilhide’s middle name is Ryan, so named after his favorite all-time baseball player Nolan Ryan, regarded as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. Wilhide is a straight ‘A’ student in the classroom. For all the accolades he has received, Wilhide and his parents also know his success came within a fraction of an inch of never happening.

At age nine (May, 2017) while living in Arizona, Wilhide accidently put his arm through a glass window of the Chapel at Fr. Huachuca where his father was stationed. He suffered a huge gash on his right arm and a V-shaped scar remains today that reminds him how lucky he was. Doctors somehow repaired the injury,                                                                                                                                                                               and like some type of a miracle the gash did not cut an artery or cause nerve damage. Just 13 days later he would grab his baseball glove and would play in his last Little League game of the season.

Today, Wilhide has posted velocity numbers from the mound of 81 miles per hour, which put him among the 95-percentile in his age. The average toss of a 14-year old is 71 miles per hour. He not only throws a blazing fastball, but he also has an excellent curve and slider and is working developing a much-needed changeup.

“I’m looking forward to playing at Bob Jones as the program is certainly more involved than what he had in middle school and I’m ready to make the step up in competition,” said Wilhide.

He shines like a star and has the elite athlete determination to succeed whenever he puts on a glove. He continues to excel in athletics just as he did from day one.

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