Prep baseball: What's up? For Oxford, it's Watts in the playoffs
May 5—When Oxford coach Wes Brooks questions if you made a mistake while playing baseball, you know you're doing something right.
After Peyton Watts' performance in the Yellow Jackets' sweep of second-ranked Hartselle in the third round of the Class 6A playoffs Thursday, the second baseman had Brooks wondering.
"Peyton played like a professional athlete tonight," Brooks said. "I don't know that he made a mistake."
Watts went 4-for-6 and had two runs and an RBI against Hartselle.
"He started it with his bat and then made a couple of wedges, then hit a double late in the game, left field, was hitting balls out to right field," Brooks said. "He was a dirtbag tonight, that's for sure."
One of those hits was a crucial second-game home run.
After Hartselle took a one-run lead in the top of the first inning of Game 2, Watts hit a towering homer to left field to tie the game at one run apiece.
"First pitch he sees, home run," Johnson said. "That's just crazy. It's awesome."
While many were shocked at his high level of play, it shouldn't come as a surprise when looking at his stats from this years' playoffs.
After Oxford's third-round sweep, Watts is now 10-for-16 in the playoffs (.625 average), and has totaled 15 runs and five RBIs.
Half of his hits have been extra-base hits, with two doubles, two triples and a home run.
Watts said that his recent success has been due to reading pitches well.
Despite going against Arkansas commit Jack Smith in Game 2, Watts said that the Hartselle pitcher was no different.
"I've been kind of seeing it well over the past couple of weeks, and I just knew that, especially against the second pitcher," said Watts, a Troy commit. "He was mainly fast balls, and he threw hard and we had to sit on that pretty much the whole night."
Brooks said Watts has put in the work more than most players he's seen, with Watts' preparations dating back to before he would be in kindergarten.
"He's the type of guy, he's not going to be like, 'Oh, well I'm the best.' He's going to continue to work," Brooks said. "He's taken more batting cuts in his entire life than I think our guys put together since he was 3, 4 or 5 years old."
Hayes Harrison, who shared that Watts goes by "P-Dub" in the dugout, said that as he sat in the dugout, he was in awe of the level of play he saw from his teammate.
"Man, P-Dub was on fire. He really crushed it tonight," Harrison said. "I'm absolutely speechless from how he played out of his mind today, and he came to the ballpark ready to play and he did it."
As Watts and the Yellow Jackets prepare to face the winner of Cullman and Gardendale in the semifinals, the senior said that they're not going to lose sight of their identity despite the victory.
"RIght now, I think it's great to focus on the win," Watts said. "Looking forward, we've got to forget about this week and just continue to be us. If we're not us, we're not playing our game, and when we play out game stuff like this happens."
Sports Writer Thomas Ashworth: 256-236-1551. On Twitter: @ThomasAshworth0.