Cecchini to decide in August

Garin Cecchini played at Ole Miss last weekend in a tournament for his summer league team. It might be the field he plays on during his college years. We'll know in mid-August.

The all-star shortstop from Lake Charles, La., has Ole Miss on his mind and on his list, which also includes other baseball powers like LSU, North Carolina, and Stanford. Those appear to be the main schools in the mix. And while Cecchini doesn't yet know which one he'll attend, he does know when he will decide.

"I'll make my decision August 18," said the rising senior at baseball-tradition-rich Barbe High School. "That's the day after players sign (pro contracts) or go to college."

It could be a decision the highly-touted Cecchini has to make a year from now. He could potentially be in the same situation if he is drafted highly, which is certainly possible if not probable.

But for now he evaluates the landscape of programs, looking at schools where he could be most comfortable, seeing the personnel there now and later and where he might fit in.

Ole Miss has a lot of what he's looking for, and the Rebels are certainly at or near the top of his list, likely along with LSU.

"It's great at Ole Miss," the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder said after his recent visit with his Southeast Texas Sun Devils team, which includes high school teammate and incoming Ole Miss freshman infielder Tanner Mathis. "Ole Miss is a beautiful place, and I really love the school and the coaches. I love Ole Miss."

No doubt the campus, people, and program have made an impression on Cecchini. But he still wants to take his time, take it all the way until August 18, and make sure his decision is the right one.

Cecchini says there are two main points he is evaluating as he goes about the recruiting process this summer, a summer which includes travel to play games and tournaments basically through that August date.

"I want to play and I want to compete, but not be given a spot. I want to earn it," he said. "I know Ole Miss (coaches) lets you compete and whoever wins the spot is the starting guy. I like that. I want to be in the lineup but earn my way there.

"Secondly, I want to play for coaches who are accessible," he continued. "I want to be able to go in and sit down and talk to them and know where things stand. Ole Miss fits all that for me."

Cecchini, playing this week in the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars presented by Major League Baseball in Cary, N.C., batted .405 this past season as a junior at Barbe. He had six home runs, 12 doubles, and 55 stolen bases.

"Hitting and stealing bases are the main parts of my game," he said. "My defense is decent, but I know you have to hit to be in the lineup. I stole 55 bases, so that's a key for me. But I want to improve all areas of my game."

Cecchini, who can play short, second, or third, was named All-American, All-State, All-Southwest Louisiana, and All-District the past two years. He attended the South Carolina series in Oxford this season and knows the atmosphere and support for Rebel baseball.

But it's something he's used to playing at a high school so steeped in baseball lore.

"We have a packed house for every game," Cecchini said, mentioning Barbe has been nationally ranked in baseball for 18 of the past 19 years. "We always face good pitching, like in the high 80s and 90s, because teams throw their best at us. It's the name on our jersey, and we have (pro) scouts at every game. It's a great place to play."

Now Garin Cecchini is looking for that next great place to play after his high school days are over. That decision will come on August 18.

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