Third Time's the Charm

Wando senior Will Christopher is making the most of his only varsity season for the Warriors baseball team.

Will Christopher is the designated hitter and captain of the Wando baseball team.

He also is a poster boy for perseverance.

Christopher's baseball career seemed on track. He played on the Wando 'B' team as a freshman.

But then he tried out for the varsity team his sophomore year and was cut.

Strike one.

He tried out for the varsity team his junior season and was the final player cut.

Strike two.

"It was pretty devastating," Christopher said. "But my feeling was: Don't give up. Anything can happen if you put hard work into it."

Christopher worked hard, remained focused and positive. This spring, he made the team.

Home run.

Christopher, who also plays third base, has proved to be one of the Warriors' better players. He usually hits from the clean-up spot and batted .400 most of the season until a recent slump pulled his average down to .375. His work ethic earned the respect of his teammates and coaching staff and translated into being named a team captain.

"He's the only player cut from the varsity team who tried out a second time since I've been here," said Jeff Blankenship, who has been Wando's head coach for three years. "He never quit. He never gave up and the kids never gave up on him. They are friends, and that means something. I think his dedication and determination comes from his desire to be part of the team."

Christopher was down, but not out after being cut his sophomore season. He lifted weights that spring in preparation for football. Blankenship advised him to play competitive baseball and work on his speed and defense. Christopher played for the Mount Pleasant Diamond Warriors and had a solid summer.

"Coach (Johnny) Cribb got me a lot of at-bats and I played in the field," Christopher said. "That gave me confidence."

That confidence was negated by a knee injury during football season. The injury still bothered him at the time of his tryouts his junior year, and he missed the cut.

He worked with his father, Reg, and classmate Trey Fowler so he could remain sharp.

"I was the team manager last year," Christopher said.

But Blankenship used the term student-coach because team manager made it seem he did mundane chores.

"He learned the game, got to study the hitting and bunting situations and kept charts," Blankenship said. "It was like having another coach."

This spring, Christopher was ready after working out on his own and with teammates almost every day during the winter.

"I had a good feeling after the second day of tryouts," Christopher said. "We had a scrimmage, and I went 2-for-3 against (pitcher) Drew Cisco. After that, I thought I had a pretty good chance of making it."

Not only did he make the team, but he was also picked to lead the team along with Jim Johnson.

"That was kind of unexpected," Christopher said of being selected a captain. "I was kind of shocked when they told me. It was unexpected, but I appreciate it."