Bates is Jefferson Davis bound

Tina Harbuck
Dillon Bates, a 6-foot-3 senior, signed to play baseball with Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton, Alabama, next year. There for the signing ceremony at South Walton High School were his parents, Dobbin and Jeramie Bates.

South Walton Seahawk Dillon Bates is taking his game to the next level.

Before family, coaches and the baseball team, Bates signed Thursday morning to play baseball with the Jefferson Davis Community College Warhawks next year.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait for the experience,” said the 17-year-old senior, who led the Seahawks to a 20-win season and a district championship, the first-ever for the South Walton baseball program.

“I’m happy with the season, but disappointed that we didn’t go all the way even though we had a good shot,” he said.

South Walton finished the season 20-8.

Prior to signing on the dotted line in the high school media center, Seahawk Baseball Coach Nick Borthwick commended Bates for his performance this season.

“He exceeded our expectations as far as leadership goes, on and off the field,” Borthwick said. “I was excited to get a talent like Dillon who could perform, and he did.”

Bates won nine games for the Seahawks on the mound this year.

“Winning nine games as a high school pitcher in one season is pretty special,” Borthwick said.

Bates pitched a total of 65 innings and carried a .415 batting average.

“He really paved the way for the other guys to pitch around him,” Borthwick said. “I’d like to commend him for his work ethic, before and after practice … coming in and getting extra work done.

“We had a great No. 1 pitcher to go up against any body in the state of Florida,” he added. “I just compliment him on his leadership and performance.”

Borthwick said a school like Jefferson Davis in Brewton, Alabama, is a great opportunity for Bates

“It’s a stepping stone for bigger things to come. And I believe your best baseball is in front of you,” he said.