By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The name Gil Erwin is among the all-time greats who played at Tipton-Rosemark Academy.
The Rebel Baseball program has enjoyed unparallel success the past 8 years under Head Coach Brad Smith. Multiple State Tournament appearances, two runner-up finishes, tournament titles and almost 20 college signees has given the program respect across the nation.
Erwin has contributed to that success the past five seasons developing into an NCAA caliber pitcher/outfielder. On May 4 in the TRA Lobby, Erwin’s hard work was validated with his signing to Christian Brothers University.
“Gil has had a great career for us,” Smith said. “He’s going to do good things at the next level. Everytime he has the ball on the mound he gives us a chance to win. He will give any team at the next level a chance to compete to win the ball game.
“He’s going to work hard for you and do the little things needed to be successful,” he continued. “He understands how to pitch. He has the upmost competitive nature about himself. He will compete deep into ball game and counts against hitters. I think he’s going to have a great career.”
Erwin’s road to becoming TRA’s 19th signee under Smith started in the fields of Covington. He developed his arm, outfield defensive instincts and swing at the plate.
His family nutured his love of baseball over the years. They all were present on signing day with parents Paul “Skip” and Kendy Erwin, both sets of grandparent with Ken and Judy McCool and Paul and Joan Erin and older brother Cody with his wife and daughter Jessica and Shadie.
“To be able to get an education like that and at the same time be able to play baseball is the coolest thing there is,” Skip said of Gil’s signing.
Gil earned solid grades at TRA while playing basketball and baseball. On the diamond is where Erwin grabbed the spotlight. He was a standout pitcher earning several honors.
This past season Erwin went 6-5 facing all opponents No. 1 pitcher. He managed a 1.57 ERA in more than 70 innings. His WHIP was 1.11 and Erwin tallied 89 strikeouts. The ace of the Rebels threw 6 complete games.
Although the CBU Bucs coaches were impress with those stats, the staff also noted Erwin’s play in centerfield for the Rebels.
“That’s the way they recruited him — mostly for the pitching,” Skip said. “But he may be able to play some outfield for them. He can do that.
“In the outfield, it’s being able to read the ball off the bat,” he added. “A lot of hours spent in the cow pasture working on that. His composure and his mound presence, he doesn’t let things rattle him too bad.”
Kendy said Gil’s composure on the mound is a byproduct of his spirituality.
“His faith in God and his upbringing in the church and his Christian friends,” she said. “He likes to play and have a good time.”
Winning has given Erwin many good memories in the Rebel uniform.
“It’s baseball so I’m going to enjoy playing,” Gil said. “I’m looking forward to playing at the next level and I get to face college level arms and compete at a higher level.”
Erwin gets to live out his dream close to home in Memphis. His success on the prep level has him playing in the Gulf South Conference.
Erwin’s high school stats have him ranked in the top 3 in most major pitching categories in TRA History with the likes of David Owen and Connor Alexander. Both Owen and Alexander have played collegiate baseball for Arkansas State and Memphis respectively.
“It feels great being up there with them,” Erwin said. “It lets people know I’m a competitor like they are.”
Smith said all three guys were special to his program and played a large part in the recent run. He added Gil separated himself as one of the best to wear the Red, White and Blue in all phases of the game.
“Top three of the best of the pure outfielders I’ve every coached,” he said. “He gets reads off the bat, that we as a staff haven’t taught him. We’ve helped him but he came to us he’s one of those kids that just gets it. He makes extraordinary plays on ball that should be down in the gap or down in front of him.
“He has a plus arm in the outfield and very accurate,” Smith concluded. “He could possibly be a two-way guy at CBU. If they see the need. I know if the ball is hit in his area, it is as good as caught.”