By GREG WEBB
BROCK — When Brock ISD built its new high school a few years ago, the planners may or may not have realized the secondary function of its media/library facility would be so _ well, ‘functional,’ as a place to celebrate, among other things, Eagle student-athletes advancing careers and educations.
But the planners can at least take credit for appearing forward-thinking as 30 to 40 relatives, faculty, coaches and classmates took advantage of the spacious venue to recognize Brock senior Shay Phillip’s national letter-of-commitment signing to Wharton County Junior College.
Brock head baseball coach Chad Massey began the observance with a complimentary description of Phillips, as a convergence of an accomplished athlete and an exceptional person and what he has meant to the program and the school.
Phillips responded with his appreciation for the support of his family, friends and all of the school connections.
“Coach Massey has helped me develop, not only as a player, but as a young man,” Phillips said when later asked about the influence of the Brock coach, who took over the position 11 years ago.
“Having the opportunity to take up the role as the ace pitcher last year, and help the team make it to the state tournament helped me grow as a player, and I think it also helped me mature, as well.”
As many athletes are prone to do with aspirations of extending careers while continuing education, Phillips stayed busy during the summer, participating in showcases, tournaments at the University of Texas and Texas Tech and a date playing with the Fort Worth Cats.
“[The summer ball] helps get player’s names out there and it also is a help with the learning process, as well,” Phillips said. “The Wharton coach came to see me pitch in a fall-ball game and invited me to WCJC for a visit.
“I really liked the campus and the coaches and decided that’s where I wanted to be.”
The scouts aren’t really all over me because I’m not you’re typical blow-away fastball type of guy, but I’m working on that.
In his mind’s eye for the future, Phillips wants to own a business, and will shape curriculum around a degree in the business field. But he does not see himself cooped up in an office, and may seek a double major, adding kinesiology or physical therapy to the mix.
But business ownership may have to wait a while, as Shay’s nearer-future plans include his further development on the mound, to capture the attention of a major-league team or a major university — or both.
“I gained a lot of confidence with the success we had last year,” he said, “enough to know I could extend my baseball career and play at the college level.”
Immediate plans for Phillips have nothing to do with college (now that is taken care of) and more to do with the next few months as he finishes out his senior year.
Brock baseball took a sweet ride last season, advancing all the way to the Class 2A baseball state tournament in Round Rock, ending with a 1-0 loss in the semi-final round.
“The state championship is really [foremost] in my mind right now, so much so, that I have a hard time focusing on school,” Phillips said with a grin. “It was heart-breaking to be so close last year — one run and one out away — but I know we have the talent and the work ethic this year to get back to the state tournament.
“And I really don’t think there is anybody in the state that is going to work any harder than I will.”