In The Cage with USM baseball star Slade Wilks

Published: Jul. 23, 2023 at 11:30 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - Even following a breakout baseball season at Southern Miss, outfielder Slade Wilks still is spending his summer In the batting cages.

Except now, the role has been reversed for the Columbia native.

The upcoming senior has been giving out hitting lessons to younger, up-and-coming baseball players.

“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do.” Wilks said. “I feel like I’m in a place now where I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and it’s definitely gotten better.

“I’m as busy as I wanna be. I love hitting. So, just being able to share that passion with younger kids is something I’m really excited about.”

The Columbia Academy grad was able to find a facility that had all the tools he needed for his personal Fortress of Solitude.

Wilks’ childhood friend, Parker Dugan, along with Dugan’s wife, Hana, own the brand-new Alpha Academy in Columbia.

Dugan said the idea for Wilks to come aboard for the summer was something that transpired during USM’s run in the NCAA Baseball Tournament at the Auburn Regional.

Wilks said they had talked about such an undertaking.

“It’s something that we’ve had a vision for the City of Columbia for a while.” Wilks said. “Now, kids don’t have to drive to Hattiesburg if they want hitting lessons, pitching lessons, stuff like that.

“We’re really excited about it.”

Well over a month into his instruction, Wilks said he’s been able to see hitting philosophies through a different lens.

“The main thing I tell kids, is that it’s consistency,” Wilks said. “Consistency is what a good hitter is to me. It’s someone (who) hits outside of hitting lessons. They’re able to take what we work on in here, and apply it to when they’re in a game.

“To be a good hitter you have to constantly get reps.”

Wilks plans to continue offering his lessons at Alpha Academy as the summer rolls along.

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