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May 29—Baseball MVP Wood puts in work on mound, field and plate

Blake Wood’s passion for baseball shows regardless of where he is on the field. That passion, along with his ability to do it all for Glynn Academy, is why he’s The News’ Baseball MVP.

He was a leader on and off the field, and Glynn’s coach Trent Mongero said it takes a particular player to possess the skills it takes to be successful on the field, and the leadership and determination to push his peers.

“Blake was a tremendous asset to our team because he brings various talents to every game,” Mongero said. “Typically, a player is not always going to be on their A-game, but with Blake, if it wasn’t on his A-game hitting, he was going to find another way on base, and he could steal bases. If he wasn’t on his A-game pitching, he could stay in the lineup and save a run on defense — truly make a difference defensively.”

It’s not every day that a high school team has someone that can pitch, hit and play the outfield if needed, but Glynn did in Wood.

This season, Wood averaged .343 at the plate, hitting seven doubles and four triples. He scored 22 runs this season and tallied 16 RBI as well. The senior was also a perfect 12-for-12 in stolen bases. Wood pitched 61 innings on the mound, finishing out the year with a 3.9 ERA and 59 strikeouts.

“If you’re blessed to have a handful of guys like that, you can just set the stage on fire. Most teams don’t even have any players that possess the complete package that Blake brings,” Mongero said. “So it takes two or three guys to kind of fill the role of like what Blake can do. This is important, I’m not trying to say he’s a Superman, but he is the kind of player that’s worked so hard to make himself a complete player. When you have a complete player, you know, their difference makers.”

Mongero said Wood’s ability to handle adversity is what he’s improved the most on this season. After batting .500 last year before COVID-19 shut down their season, he got off to a slow start this year offensively. Mongero said there were times that every time he hit, the ball found a way into a defender’s glove.

“If he was selfish, and he was worried about his stats, he probably would have tanked,” Mongero said. “We encouraged him to focus on quality at-bats, which isn’t dictated by hits and focus on just hitting the ball hard. They were eventually going to fall, and they did. Then he started getting on base all the time.

“By the last series against Statesboro, we have moved him to the three-hole, so then he was driving in runs. So he was getting on base, driving in runs and scoring runs — that combined with (Tyler) Motis moving to one, Brady Davis at two and keeping Ty Devlin at four, you saw our numbers start to go up. Blake was a big part of that productivity, and that’s what helped propel us to the Elite Eight.”

His tenacity to succeed didn’t stop at the plate — it went to the mound too. Glynn’s pitching came down to three main pitchers, and Mongero said it was important they gave the Terrors a shot at winning regardless if they didn’t have their best stuff.

“That’s exactly what Blake did — he’s the ultra competitor,” Mongero said. “So we knew when he got the ball that even if he didn’t have his best stuff, he was going to give us a chance to win.”

One of Mongero’s favorite moments with Wood came in Glynn’s first-round state playoff series against Grovetown.

“It’s the passion that he plays with,” Mongero said. “In our first series in the state playoffs, there in the first inning, he hit a triple, got the third and spontaneously, ripped his jersey off, like almost like Superman would do. It was all in passion. It was just like the intensity that he plays with, and you know that I think that moment defines the fabric of who he is.”