— Courtesy of Weatherford College
Hunter Lockwood has come home to Weatherford College.
Lockwood enjoyed playing at the University of Oklahoma as a freshman, and did quite well as a Sooner. But it was just too far from his home in Hurst, for the moment, anyway.
Lockwood knows if his dream comes true of playing professionally, he could be anywhere from just down the road in Arlington, to either of the nation’s coasts. But for the time being, he wanted to play a little closer to the family, and still play for one of the nation’s premier programs, he said.
“I’ve known a lot of this group of guys for a while. I’ve played against them since I was 14 or 15,” said Lockwood. “I was ready for the level of play in the Big 12, but it just wasn’t the right fit at the time.”
Being a solid player in the Big 12 was certainly no problem for Lockwood. He was named to the All-Big-12 Freshmen Team after a successful year at first base, third base and designated hitter.
The 2011 L.D. Bell graduate tied for second in the Big 12 in home runs, with 11.
“I had a great time playing in the Big 12. I love the rivalries,” he said. “But it wasn’t home.”
At WC, the sophomore has had the opportunity to focus on playing catcher on a full-time basis. He’s also eligible for the Major League Baseball Draft again, which he would not have been had he remained at Oklahoma. NCAA Division I players must stay at least three years at a program.
The pros know who Lockwood is already. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 17th round out of high school, but opted to play in college.
He feels like playing in the extremely competitive Big 12 and North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference have made him ready for playing at an even higher level.
“It didn’t feel like going from a four-year school to a two-year school when I came to Weatherford,” Lockwood said. “Junior college baseball is at a very high level here. We get spoiled here.
“This is really a strong conference. If you can make a name for yourself in this conference you can succeed anywhere.”
If the draft doesn’t work out for him this June, Lockwood will move on to a larger school.
“There are a couple of schools interested in me. I just have to see what happens. But I’m optimistic,” he said.
“I feel like being here, and facing the competition we see regularly, has made me a better player, and wherever I go I can help them out a lot. There are no days off in this conference. You’re always facing good teams and good players.”
In the meantime, Lockwood is just glad to be home.