Josiah Sightler can impact a game whether he is on the mound or at the plate.
The Swansea senior might have a chance to do both when he arrives at South Carolina. Sightler signed his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday during the first day of the fall signing period.
Sightler was recruited as a pitcher when he committed to play for Chad Holbrook. But the new Gamecocks coaching staff likes his bat just as much as the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder’s production on the mound.
“You put him at the plate, and he is going to compete with the best. You put him on the mound, and he will compete with the best hitters,” Swansea coach Terrence Oldaker said. “He is just a pleasure to have on the mound and at the plate.”
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“I think I can contribute from both sides – on the mound and with my bat,” Sightler said. “I always have been a better hitter, but over the years, I have progressed with my pitching. And I think I will be able to develop more when I get to South Carolina.”
Sightler committed to USC after his freshman year and didn’t entertain any offers despite the coaching change when Holbrook was replaced by Mark Kingston. He spoke with Tulane coach Rick Jones, who had good things to say about Kingston and said getting to play baseball so close to home was too hard to pass up.
Sightler is a little disappointed that he won’t be able to play for Jerry Meyers, who announced Friday he would be taking a medical leave of absence. Meyers played a key role in Sightler’s recruitment.
“He was the only coach I had a relationship with there with me being committed as a pitcher,” Sightler said. “I know they are going to bring in a good pitching coach and I will be able to develop a relationship with him and, hopefully, teach me a lot too.”
As a junior, Sightler hit .455 with five homers and 15 RBIs and was 4-4 on mound with 79 strikeouts. He tied a state-record with 21 strikeouts in the 11-2 victory against Bluffton in an elimination game in the Class 3A playoffs.
Sightler got a chance to play against top quality competition over the summer between travel ball and being invited to the Tournament of Stars at Team USA training facility in Cary, N.C.
Sightler also competed in the East Coast Pro Showcase in front of major league scouts, but suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder while diving for a ball. He began his rehab and should be ready to go when the season begins in February.
Sightler is starting to get looks from more than a dozen major league teams and already had an in-home visit with the Chicago White Sox.