Blood and Baseball
The Weekley era officially comes to an end as JICHS drops elimination game
JICHS senior Tyler Weekly’s high school baseball career came to a close after the Trojans lost an elimination game to Socastee last Friday. But Weekley will continue his career, joining his brother on the Charleston Southern pitching staff
by Charlie Morrison, Community Editor
The James Island Charter High School (JICHS) varsity baseball team took the field to begin their 2013 season with high hopes. And why wouldn’t they? They had their established number one starter, right-hander Tyler Weekley, taking the mound. But the Trojans’ belief in Weekley didn’t translate to support on the field that day, as the defense behind him committed a total of eight errors which attributed to JICHS losing their opening game.
To Weekley’s credit, he took it in stride, demonstrating a toughness and maturity not usually seen in a teenager. It was that leadership that helped guide the Trojans through their season. And while the group got off to a most inauspicious start, they turned it around, thanks to the leadership of Weekley and the prodding and pushing of head coach Tom Hatley, who knew his team was capable of much more.
The difficulty of March bore fruit in April, with the Trojans winning nine of their last 11 as April came to a close and playoff time arrived. “We started out a little slow, but as the season progressed we just got on fire from a pitching and defensive standpoint,” says Weekley in looking back on a year where the Trojans finished the regular season 16-9. In a dramatic AAA Lower State playoff game against Brookland-Cayce, the Trojans came back from nearly being no-hit to ultimately winning 3-2. But the team lost subsequent games to Airport High in Columbia and Socastee to finish their season at 17-11.
According to Weekley, the fact that the team dug itself out of an early hole was a tribute to Hatley and his renowned attention to detail. “It’s the little stuff like that made a really big difference in the games we won down the stretch,” said Weekley. “Our hitting came around more consistently up and down the line-up as we got deeper into the season as well.”
This wasn’t the first time a Weekley led the Trojans to a successful run, however. In 2011, Tyler’s older brother Austin graduated from the JICHS as a standout baseball player. As an AAAA S.C. All-State selection, the Trojans’ team MVP and a top 15 academic student in his graduating class, the elder Weekley left some big shoes to fill for his little brother. He himself ended up at Charleston Southern University once his decorated career at JICHS came to an end.Trojans’ Schedule
Less than two years later, the younger Weekley began his senior season as the Trojans’ number one starting pitcher, a role with which comes an added level responsibility and pressure that both he and his brother Austin can attest
While at JICHS the two sons of Lori and Walt Weekley did share the field, and it won’t be the last time, either. Tyler, like his brother before him, signed a scholarship offer to attend Charleston Southern University in the fall where he’ll join his big brother on the baseball team.
As for his chances of actually getting playing time, Tyler Weekley is optimistic. “I’m going to speak with the coach and try to work my way into a few appearances early on,” says the younger Weekley.
“The best thing about my brother going there is he kind of knows what’s going on, so it’ll be an easy transition for me,” admits Weekley. “He put on 20 pounds of muscle last semester alone. That’s one of the biggest thing that I’ll do this summer and in the fall when I get up there —schedule some regular lifting and develop a schedule for eating as well.
“By the time he’s an upperclassmen I’ll be well situated in and might actually know what’s going on,” says an excited Weekley. “I can’t wait.”