Demon on the diamond

Pitcher Tommy Wilson warms up at the bullpen in Joe Kelly Field at Pierce College on Nov. 17, 2015.(photo  by Joshua Duarte)
Pitcher Tommy Wilson warms up at the bullpen in Joe Kelly Field at Pierce College on Nov. 17, 2015.(photo by Joshua Duarte)

When Thomas F. Wilson is on the pitching mound, the world around him changes.

“People always ask, “Can you hear me? I’m cheering for you,” and I can’t hear anything,” Wilson said.

In that instance, Wilson is only thinking of one thing.

“When I’m pitching I’m just so focused on getting this guy out. I live for that pressure moment,” Wilson said.

Wilson is a sophomore transfer from Saint Mary’s College in Northern California, and a redshirt freshman for the Pierce College Baseball team. He is originally from Tarzana, California and went to Notre Dame High School. St. Mary’s did not feel like the right place for Wilson, and after a year he decided there was more opportunity at Pierce College.

“The main reason why I transferred was for baseball. It seems like a better fit for me here than St. Mary’s. If I want to move on from college and pursue this as a career, I think this is the better place for me,” Wilson said.

He is looking for either getting drafted or going to another local four-year university where he would major in business. In baseball, players who are at a four-year college are eligible for the MLB draft during their junior year, while players at a two-year college can be drafted out of their freshman year.  His time at Pierce is one that will benefit him both academically and on the field.

Wilson’s decision to attend Pierce was great news for Bill Picketts, head coach of the baseball team.

“When we heard there was an opportunity that he may come here we were really excited because obviously, he’s very good. I haven’t seen him pitch in a game yet, but I know he’s going to be just fine.” Pickett said.

Wilson has been playing from a very young age.  Ironically, the sport that he has come to love was not something he initially wanted to partake in. At the age of six, a hesitant and shy Wilson did not want to play baseball. His parents were big motivators in getting him involved with the sport.

“It was funny because my parents forced me into it. I really didn’t want to do it because I was really shy as a little kid. But they made me do it, and obviously that was a good decision on their part,” Wilson said.

Now Wilson loves the game of baseball and wants to make a living playing it.

“If I don’t even play baseball, I just want to try my best and have a career in this,” Wilson said.

There was a time when Wilson’s ability to play the game was shaken and his future looked cloudy.  A week before tryouts during his freshman year of high school, Wilson broke his wrist while skateboarding. The injury greatly discouraged his hopes of continuing to play.

“I was like wow, I don’t even know if I’m going to make the team. This might be over completely,” Wilson said.

Wilson still showed up to tryouts in a cast, unsure of what would happen.  His talent however, spoke for itself. Prior to entering high school, he had played for the coaches on a summer team and despite his injury, what they caught a glimpse of that summer earned him a spot on the roster.

He worked extremely hard and rehabbed to get back on the mound. He played the second half of his freshman season, and made varsity in his sophomore year.

The experience was a big step that both challenged and inspired him.

“It stemmed from breaking the wrist motivating me, to come back and recover to making the varsity team the next year,” Wilson said.

The hard work that Wilson puts in is something those around him notice.

“It’s something that I ask of my players, that they come out here and they work hard while they’re here, and he fit right in. He gets it done in the weight room, he gets it done out on the field.” Coach Picketts said.

Long time friend and pitcher Matthew Lemus also sees the effort Wilson puts in.

“He’s hilarious, he’s always in a good mood. At the same time he’s motivating us because he’s such a hard worker and he just has such an incredible and powerful presence on the mound,” Lemus said.

Getting at the tough grind is a priority for Wilson. Professional outfielder for the Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper is someone that Wilson wants to emulate. A young success in the pros, he sets the standard.

“We don’t play the same position, but I see his work ethic. I watch Youtube videos and anything on social media of him working so hard in the off-season, and seeing that result in the season. He’s very young so people are very judgmental of him. So to see him succeed in the big leagues is very inspirational and cool to see,” Wilson said.

Wilson’s talents don’t stop on the field. As his family is more art and musically oriented, he also plays the guitar and drums, and has always wanted to be in a band. Though it is “far-fetched” it would be fun for Wilson, but baseball will come first for now.

“I just love the game, and its been my life since I was six, its all I know,” Wilson said.