Will Craig was slow to learn of the award his fast start at Wake Forest produced.
The Demon Deacons third baseman returned to St. Cloud, Minnesota around 3 a.m. Wednesday after a two-game Northwoods League series in Iowa, and didn’t find the five-hour bus ride suitable for sleep.
So by the time he woke from a late sleep Wednesday, he’d already been praised numerous times.
“I had texts from a bunch of friends and family saying congratulations,” Craig said. “I didn’t know what it was about. And then I saw a text from my coach (Tom Walter), ‘Congratulations for being a freshman All-American.’ And I was, like, oh, that’s great.”
Craig was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team on Wednesday after leading the Demon Deacons in home runs (eight) and finishing second in RBIs (36).
“It’s a real honor and kind of unexpected,” Craig said. “I didn’t make any of the All-ACC teams (first, second or third team), and I thought I would. So I didn’t get my hopes up.”
Craig finished the season ranked ninth in school history for home runs as a freshman, and he did it in this new dead-bat era. Craig was named ACC player of the week on March 10 thanks to six hits, six runs, two home runs, three RBIs and four walks in the series win at Georgia Tech.
He batted .280 and had an 11-game hitting streak for the Demon Deacons (15-15, 30-26).
Craig also pitched in seven games, finishing 1-0 with a 4.05 ERA in 13 1/3 innings. Walter said he intends to pitch the 6-foot-3 right-hander more frequently in future seasons.
Craig said he was consistently 89-92 (mph) when he pitched recently in the Northwoods, and topped out at 94.
A family atmosphere helped Craig transition smoothly to the college level. Walter donated a kidney to Wake Forest outfielder Kevin Jordan in 2011.
“If you ever need anything, even outside of baseball, he’s there,” Craig said. “And he’ll always ask how your family’s doing.”
Craig also mentioned his Science Hill family, noting how former Hilltoppers Paul Hoilman also made the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team. Hoilman did it after leading East Tennessee State in batting (.353) and hitting nine home runs in 2008.
The award will likely mean more as time goes on, like when and if Craig has grandkids.
“I can say, ‘Oh yeah, I was a freshman All-American baseball player,’” Craig said. “And it’ll be pretty cool to tell your friends down the road.”
Chances are, Craig will have much more to talk about before he’s done.comments powered by Disqus