Headed to Oxford

Sikes Orvis will be in Oxford this weekend for the start of second semester summer school. Over the last week, however, the Rebel baseball signee was diverted a bit to the northeast.

Orvis, an Orlando native, was in Boston as were other Red Sox draftees. He was a part of a couple of games actually played at Fenway Park. Orvis was drafted in the 19th round by Boston earlier this month.

"You come up and you go to a (Red Sox) game and watch them play, then you actually play a game that night," said Orvis, a first baseman and catcher. "Then I'm flying straight to Ole Miss for the summer school session."

That should be a good sign that the 6-foot-3, 210-pound talented player will arrive to play baseball for the Rebels. But that might not be the case. The deadline for signing a pro contract or choosing class is Aug. 15. Orvis will likely continue to hear from the wealthy Boston ballclub until that time.

"I'm just playing everything by ear right now and see what happens," said Orvis, who played at Freedom High School and graduated earlier this month.

Is he pleased with how things have progressed?

"Yes, and that's on both sides," Orvis said.

Most observers still believe he will play at Ole Miss and not turn pro. But there is obviously a ways to go before that is determined.

Orvis said the Red Sox were always interested in him throughout the process.

"They were one of the main teams I did the most workouts with," he said. "They came to my house and talked to me. They truly showed me the most interest."

Orvis has also played some third base in addition to his usual first base/catcher duties. He said his high school senior season went well. He also batted leadoff much of the year because during his junior season teams would pitch around him.

"I batted .460 with six home runs with 25 RBI and 18 stolen bases," he said of his senior season. "I had a pretty weak high school team so to actually get pitched to, I was batting leadoff most of the season. Pretty good hitters on our team batted behind me, so I was in the leadoff hole. I still got intentionally walked every now and then in the leadoff spot."

One focus for him was to trim down some and pick up his speed a bit.

"I'm a little more lean now and put on a lot more muscle in the fall," he said. "I weigh about the same, just leaner. It's helped my speed bigtime."

Orvis said he's really looking forward to being in Oxford and getting to know how things work at Ole Miss and in college baseball.

"I can't wait to get down there and start working out with (strength and conditioning) Coach (Rich) Levy and getting used to the routine," he said.

Orvis said he isn't stressed about making an ultimate decision on the Red Sox or the Rebels. He knows he's in a great spot either way.

"I'm loving it, as long as I can play baseball," he said.

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