From Orlando To Oxford

The evaluation of Oxford and Ole Miss by Orlando's Sikes Orvis has a familiar ring to it. He liked what he saw and knew it was the place for him.

"I had heard a lot about it from (Ole Miss commitment) Auston Bousfield and also (Ole Miss signees) Will Allen, Austin Anderson and (former UM signee) Casey Mullholand," said the left-handed power-hitting Orvis. "Then I visited up there Easter weekend and fell in love with the place."

Good thing Oxford and Ole Miss were so appealing to him. He also took visits to some other schools that were extremely interested in his services. You've heard of them all – Miami, LSU, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina and Clemson.

Some of college baseball's heaviest hitters are in that bunch. But Ole Miss and Oxford simply did it for Orvis, as well as the Rebel coaching staff.

"Coach Bianco and Coach Lafferty and Coach Mossberg were three of the best I met," he said of his travels to the colleges who were pursuing him. "They made a difference in my decision, too."

Orvis continues to see them as he travels to baseball tournaments and showcases this summer, both with his Orlando Scorpion club and to individual showcases.

Sikes Orvis

Lafferty and Mossberg were in Atlanta where the Scorpions played in a tournament at East Cobb, while Lafferty was at the Perfect Games National Showcase in St. Petersburg prior to that. Orvis was among the country's best at the latter one.

"That's where the 120 best players in the nation get together," he said.

He fared well there, too.

"If you can just make contact there, it's impressive," he said of the pitching he faced in St. Pete. "I don't think I saw anything below 92 (mph)."

Orvis plays first base and is behind the plate a little bit as a catcher. But it's mostly his bat that he's known for. His numbers don't necessarily jump out and grab you.

But there are reasons the 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior to be at Freedom High in Orlando hasn't hit a ton of home runs. And it isn't his potential.

"I had 40 walks this season," he said of his junior campaign at FHS. "They were able to pitch around me, because there was really no protection."

Orvis accepted the role begrudgingly.

"It's frustrating but it comes with the territory," he said.

Orvis said he is looking forward to improving his game the rest of this summer and next season before he arrives in Oxford to stay.

"I want to continue slimming down some," he said. "I want to get stronger and faster overall. I feel I can drive the ball to all fields pretty well, but I want to work on all aspects."

Since some of the premier baseball schools were after him, the professional teams will likely be as well. Orvis said he isn't concerning himself with next June's draft at this point.

"It's just wait and see," he said, mentioning his commitment to the Rebels is firm and that he is set to sign in November. "I'm from Orlando, and the small town is a nice change. I really bought into it. Unless something drastic happens (in the draft), I'm going to Oxford and play for Ole Miss."

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