By Thomas Sellers Jr.
It was finally Garrison McBride’s turn to enjoy the spotlight of Brighton Baseball.
On Dec. 14 in the Brighton Gymnasium Lobby, McBride was joined by his parents Becky and Rodney, siblings Jackson and Madison along with grandparents Billy and Ninette McBride and Marilyn and Jerry Borrows for his signing day ceremony.
The Brighton senior inked his national letter of intent to play baseball for Head Coach Clint McAuley at Bryan College.
“I’m excited,” Garrison said. “I’m ready to see what God has in store for me.”
Earning his chance with the Lions through a solid performance at a showcase, Garrison kept the faith that he was a college level player waiting patiently at Brighton.
“He’s going to be a good addition to Bryan College,” Brighton Head Coach Ryan Wood said. “They’re a good NAIA program. You look in on the NAIA Top 25, they’re in there. They’ve been there for some years.
“He’s a left-handed pitcher and left-hand batter,” he added. “He’s worked hard for every opportunity. It’s hard when you’ve got two guys who went on to play college baseball at your position in front of you since you’ve been in high school.”
When Garrison arrived on campus nearly four years ago, Brighton has an All-State caliber player already at first base.
“He had LaDarius Williams there when he was a freshman,” Wood recalled. “And Brett Wilkins for two years during sophomore and junior years. So Garrison when he had times to step in, he has really stepped up. I know he’s worked hard. This is not just this year, it’s been the past four years I’ve known him.
“Garrison is one who stays after and gets extra work in,” he continued. “He does the right thing. He does the right thing in the classroom. He’s done the right things as far as going to get his name out there in showcases. He has a great family support system. I couldn’t be any happier for him.”
While waiting his turn at Brighton, Garrison confined in his first coach when he started playing the game at 4 years old in the Munford Dixie Youth League.
“Trust in God and listening to my Dad,” he noted. “He talked to me a bunch about it. ‘Just wait and your time will come.’”
Mom, who teaches at BHS, was there for support during his underclassmen years as well.
“He’s discipline,” she noted. “He has faith in God and himself. He has a purpose on the field and off the field. I feel that’s the reason he never really gave up.
“What it says about his character on the field that you work as a team to be successful,” Becky added. “Everyone contributes to that team. Even though he hasn’t been out there on the field yet, he’s contributed already.”
McBride is a part of a 12-man senior class at Brighton. He said his loyalty to his teammates made it easier to stay and find ways to contribute to the team.
But when the summer rolled around, McBride joined his mother and grandparents hitting the road to perform in showcases to get his name out there.
“I went to Bryan over the summer in July in a showcase,” Garrison recalled. “We hit and then we fielded. We played in a little scrimmage game. They called me about two weeks later and said they wanted me to come.”
McBride became one of the first priorities for incoming Head Coach McAuley. He is entering his first season as the head coach of the Bryan College baseball program after being promoted from associate head coach in August 2018. McAuley has totaled seven seasons as a member of the Bryan baseball coaching staff, with the past five of them spent as the associate head coach.
Before McBride joins Lions in the Appalacian Athletic Conference, Wood said he will be vital to the Cardinals at first base and on the mound logging up key innings.
“It’s a testament to his character,” he said. “Not many guys have the ability or the perseverance to stick that out. I’ve been there. It’s hard not to want to transfer when you’re not playing. I went through the same thing while in college. I’m so glad he stuck it out. He has definitely persevered.
“You have guys like that who are always taking care of their business and pushing for the team to do well, they are not worried about self,” Wood continued. “In baseball that is hard to do because it is the most individual team sport. If you’ve got guys like that who are always laying it on the line and put the team first, that’s going to make us successful.”
Rodney said starting in 2019, Garrison will show everybody his skills and capability on the diamond.
“Just his ability to play the game, that’s what he going to show the world,” he concluded. “He’s supposed to be out there on the field somewhere. He a left-hander and slow, so there’s only two spots to play him out there on the field – pitcher and first base. He’s going to show people what he can do in 2019.”