PLEASANT GROVE — Burke Watkins had never seen his son, Brock Watkins, quite that excited, but with all things considered, it was easily understood.
The stage was the 6A baseball championship game with Brock helping power Pleasant Grove to become the last team standing in what was a fitting end for his remarkable career.
“He's just not a kid who gets too excited out there, but yeah, that was a really great moment for him," Burke Watkins said. "He's put in a lot of work through the years and to go out like that — yeah, I guess you should get at least a little excited."
Indeed, all the work paid off with Brock Watkins putting forth his best season as a senior, becoming a clear choice to be selected as 2019's Mr. Baseball.
While prolific throughout his prep career, the numbers he put up during his final season were truly extraordinary. A .576 batting average that included six home runs and 41 RBI are numbers that speak for themselves, but when considering the type of competition he did it against, it makes the stats all the more impressive.
“We’ve played top programs all year and he’s always come through,” said Pleasant Grove coach Darrin Henry. “Not only did we play in Region 4, but also against top teams around the country, but no matter how good the level of play he always rises to match it and exceed a lot of it. He’s just been phenomenal.”
Henry recognized what Brock Watkins would ultimately become at an early age. Having played with Burke Watkins at Pleasant Grove, the two have remained close through the years, leading to a close relationship with Brock through most of his baseball development.
“He’s always liked having a bat in his hands and running around the bases,” Burke said. “So we made a super league team when he was 8 (years old) and he’s been able to focus on baseball and improve since.”
For Brock, all of it was a complete blast.
"I loved all of it. My dad pushed me a ton growing up and I’m grateful for that,” Brock said. “He would make sure I was always working to be the best player I could be and what I’ve been able to accomplish — so much of it is because of him.”
All of it led to Henry taking a chance to start Brock as a freshman at the demanding shortstop position on Pleasant Grove's varsity team, a move that could be overwhelming for a lot of young kids. But with his already advanced skill level and demeanor, he rose to the challenge.
“He’s very even-keeled,” Burke said. “He’s very good at not getting too high or too low and that’s a big key with baseball. It can be a big roller coaster and he gets a lot of that from his mother (Jennifer Watkins), I think.”
His freshman campaign was far from perfect, according to Henry, but for the most part he acquitted himself well to lead up to a breakthrough sophomore season.
“It was his sophomore year where he really started tearing it up for us,” Henry said. “I thought he rose to become one of the best players in the state that year. It was great to see.”
Brock's junior year saw him prove productive again, although it didn't see quite the leap in production he experienced between his freshman and sophomore seasons. He went about to change all of that during the offseason, however.
“It’s not like I did bad my junior year, but I certainly wanted to get things better for my senior year,” Brock said. “So I decided to just put the work in and it really paid off.”
Throughout the year Brock did it all for his team, proving as adept in the field as he did at the plate.
“He really has the whole package,” Henry said. “He hits for average. He hits for power and he’s great defensively, and has good speed. He really did it all for us and it’s going to be extremely hard to replace him.”
The plan now is for Brock to go on and play for BYU, a program that first offered him a scholarship when he was just a freshman.2 comments on this story
"It's a great opportunity for me to play for a great coach at a great program," Brock said. "My goal is to go there and just keep working as hard as I can and to help out the team however I can."
If history proves any guide, he could prove productive sooner rather than later.
"We depended on him early and he responded," Henry said. "He's just the type of kid who responds and steps up in any situation and when you need him most. It's been a great opportunity for me to coach him and he has a lot of success in front of him."