Making The Grade

Gavin Cecchini was among a group of Ole Miss baseball commitments who visited last weekend. The theme from all of them seems to be the same.

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"It was unbelievable. I loved it," said the 6-foot-2, 180-pound shortstop. "I didn't want to leave. It was awesome. They treated me first class. Everything they do there is first class."

Rebel senior Matt Snyder was his host. Cecchini said there likely couldn't have been a better one.

"He's a really good host. He's awesome. He's outgoing just like me. He's real funny, and I just had a really good time. His roommate is Bobby Wahl who was Ty Hensley's host. So us four were usually together the whole time. Bobby's awesome, too."

Cecchini, of Lake Charles, La., committed to Ole Miss following a spring visit for a baseball weekend. Visits like he just made to Ole Miss, along with four other high school seniors who are committed to the Rebels, are mainly to get more accustomed to their future college home and the people there.

Cecchini was joined by Hensley, Chase Nyman, Jacob Waguespack, and Zach Irwin. All will sign with Ole Miss in November.

It was a busy weekend for them.

"We got there (Friday) and visited with the coaches and the players and watched them scrimmage. We watched another scrimmage (Saturday) and then went to the football game," Cecchini said.

He liked what he saw from his future team in those intrasquads.

"They looked really good out there," Cecchini said. "They can hit like they always can. They've got some really young pitchers out there, and I think they're going to do perfectly fine. They look really good from what I saw."

But what he also saw was a passion and an energy that he's used to from his own Barbe High School team, coached by his father, Glenn.

Gavin Cecchini
File Photo

"What I love about it, their scrimmages are so upbeat, and everything has a fast-paced tempo," Cecchini said. "Like they time the players on and off the field. I loved the scrimmages, and it's fun to watch. And better than that, there's people out there watching the scrimmage, and that was great. They announced it just like a game. It was awesome.

"I come from a program where all our practices are so upbeat. If someone's on the mound and they're not getting signals from the catcher quick, or we're not throwing the ball around quick after a strikeout, or we're not going full speed, I mean they get on us, our coaches and my dad. They like everything fast tempo, and it keeps everyone in the game when everything's moving fast."

While he continues to do all the things you'd expect a player of his caliber and drive to do – "We're working out and getting bigger, faster, stronger. Taking ground balls. Hitting everyday," he says – there are some events on his mind upcoming right away.

"From my summer team, I've got a tournament in Jupiter (Fla.) this weekend," he said. "Then after that I come home and leave November 9 for (Team) USA to go to Colombia (South America). I've already made the team. We have 20 players, and we go to Colombia. We compete against Cuba, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Panama, all those teams, trying to win a gold medal and represent our country. I'm really excited, really pumped."

On his summer team, the Texas Sun Devils, Cecchini was joined this year by other Ole Miss commitments Hensley, Stryker Trahan, Cameron Dishon, and Matt Denny. He considers that a positive for all their futures.

"What helps is you know a lot of them before you step on campus," he said. "We've all been playing together for a couple of summers now. Actually me, Cameron, and Stryker have been playing together since our freshman year. So it's really a good thing, playing together and getting to know each other."

Cecchini's sights are set on some major team accomplishments this school year.

"My goals for this year are definitely win a state championship, and definitely win a gold medal for Team USA. Just achieve those. And if I play hard and do everything right, everything will take care of itself," he said.

Then his attention will turn to the draft. He will be a high draft choice. He was rated a 10 as a shortstop on a scale of 1 to 10 by Perfect Game. Some outlooks have him as one of the top, if not the top, high school shortstops in the country.

But for now, that can wait.

"I'm not worried about that at all," Cecchini said of the draft. "That's in June, and my mind is not focused on that at all. I'm just trying to go out there and get better every day. And winning a state championship and a gold medal."

And signing with Ole Miss in November. This past weekend assured him he made the right decision.

"I had a great time," he said. "I know for sure it's definitely the right fit for me."

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