By Chris McCarthy/Publisher/Editor
Daylon Philpot didn’t let a pandemic derail his dreams of playing college baseball.
After his senior season was cut short in mid-March due to the COVID-19 shutdown, the 2020 Gadsden City High School graduate spent the much of the summer playing in showcase games around the state. He drew the interest of Southern Union Community College, but Philpot (pictured above) soon discovered that the team had a surplus of outfielders.
However, members of the SUCC coaching staff contacted Martin Methodist head coach Mitch Hill, who invited Philpot to try out.
Philpot must have raised a few eyebrows, because he was offered a scholarship on the spot following the workout.
“It feels great; I’m just really happy to have the opportunity to play baseball in college,” said Philpot, who will major in criminal justice. “Getting our senior season cut off was really hard, and I didn’t really know if I was going to get the chance to play at the next level. But it definitely made me want to go harder and figure out how to make it.”
Philpot made the most of the 2020 limited season. In 14 games, he batted .320 with an on-base percentage of .450 0BP and 11 steals. He committed no errors while in the field. As a junior, helped the Titans win 10 games and earn the program’s first playoff berth in five years.
“When Coach [Blake] Bone came in (prior to the 2019 season), he changed everyone’s mindset and we started to turn things around,” he said. “Chasing down a ball in the outfield or throwing someone out a home plate was just as important as getting a big hit and driving in a run.”
Philpot will join a top-notch program in 2021. The NAIA Red Hawks, who compete in the Mid-South Conference, went 15-3 this past season and won 28 games in 2019.
“Daylon checks every box with his tools,” said Bone. “He runs a true 6.6 60, throws 94 (miles an hour) from the outfield and can hit with power; it just took some time to figure out how to use his skill set.”
Bone said that Philpot really came into his own his senior year before the pandemic hit.
“He eventually hit lead off and was tracking down every ball in the outfield. Daylon always had the tools, but he re-ally matured as the season went along. He really worked hard to get where he is at.”
Philpot is the fifth senior on the 2020 team who committed to play college baseball.
“Those guys worked really hard and led by example,” said Bone. “They did the grind, and you can see the younger guys following suit and doing the same things. You can’t place a value on how important those guys were to this program.
Bone sees Philpot making an immediate impact for Martin Methodist next season.
“If he continues to work, I think Daylon will instantly help that team. He’s one of the fastest guys I’ve ever coached, and you can’t teach those skills. With his speed and arm strength, once he figures out how to get his swing consistently where it needs to be, Daylon’s got a chance to be a draft guy.”