Friends come first: Pair of first basemen share position, thoughts on baseball

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 26, 2018

Landon Whittington is used to his spot at first base. For the past three years, the 12-year-old lefty has manned the position.

Though Whittington said he believes being a first baseman isn’t necessarily the most difficult spot on the baseball field, he doesn’t take his role lightly.

“It’s one of the most important positions,” he said. “You have to be able to block the ball.”

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Coincidently, one of Whittington’s best friends plays first base, too. Clay Watts, also 12 years old, just happens to play for a different team in Concordia Dixie Youth.

“I don’t think it’s that hard, either,” Watts said. “It’s not that hard to learn, but it can sometimes be a lot of pressure to catch the ball and get an out.”

The duo agreed sometimes the game feels like it is resting in their hands.

“Like 95 percent of the outs come to first base,” Watts said.

While the percentage might not be quite that high, first base is the most commonly reached base, often leaving both Watts and Whittington the chance to interact with the opposing team.

Whittington said Watts is the only one he talks to.

“You’re supposed to be playing your position and not worrying about if anyone is on the base,” he said. “I know a bunch of players, but we are just really good friends so I talk to him.”

Watts said the conversations are often meaningless.

“We usually just talk about the hitting,” he said. “It’s usually really random. It gives you company when you’re bored.”

In their defense, the pair must make the most of their time together since Whittington goes to school in Monterey and Watts in Vidalia. Luckily, however, they do play on the same travel ball team.

“It’s fun both ways,” Watts said. “It is fun to play against him, because we can be competitive. But, I like them both.”

Whittington is a little more sure of his answer.

“I like when we are on the same team,” he said.