As a seventh grader, Greenwood Eagles’ shortstop Jonathon Wright said that he saw older players within the Greenwood program that were better than him as a player. Seeing those players served as a catalyst to a competitive drive that jumpstarted his young career. After starting at second base on the varsity squad midway through his eighth grade season, Wright started every game at shortstop in 2012. Now a sophomore, Wright is regarded as one of the top shortstops in the state of South Carolina, and is ready to lead the young Eagles’ squad in 2013.
“He has such a competitive drive,” Greenwood Head Coach Joel Vaughn said. “It’s like the old saying goes, if he plays you in checkers, he’s going to beat you in checkers. Whatever he does, whether it be baseball, or whatever it is, he’s going to do everything he can to be the best at it.”
The sophomore star explained that improving his speed has been a point of emphasis during the offseason, as he has been training on a routine basis with a speed coach in Irmo.
“Getting faster will help me in a lot of ways,” Wright said. “I’ll be able to steal more bases and get to a lot of balls defensively that I haven’t been able to get to in the past.”
Wright’s defensive prowess has been a calling card for the Eagles’ shortstop, with Vaughn even saying “he has hands that I’ve never seen.”
“Defense has always been my strength, going back to little league,” Wright said. “I’ve always been the type of guy that would rather play defense than hit.”
According to Vaughn, Wright’s ability to become more consistent offensively will take the sophomore star’s game to another level.
“There are maybe one or two shortstops in the state of South Carolina that are better than him, and they are a little older than him,” Vaughn said. “At his age, he’s as good as it gets at his position. He (Wright) and I have talked a lot and we would like for him to become more consistent with the bat. He’s a heady player, handles the bat well, has good pop. He hit in the three spot for us last year and I don’t see him moving from that spot.”
After being a younger player on last year’s team that won the program’s first region championship since 1979, Wright enters the 2013 season as a veteran for the Eagles, as he hopes to help lead Greenwood to its second consecutive Region I-4A Championship.
“Last year, our pitching and defense led us,” Wright said. “We are younger this year than we were last year, but I think we will be a little bit better offensively. If we are able to pitch and play good defense, and hit a little bit, we should be able to compete for another region championship.”