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Wilbanks and Francisco sign baseball scholarships



Adam Francisco and Tristan Wilbanks (photo by Keith Phillips)

Two St. Aloysius baseball players, Tristan Wilbanks and Adam Francisco, signed scholarships on Monday to secure their playing future on the next level.

Tristan Wilbanks (Photo by Keith Phillips)

After much debate, Wilbanks is taking his talents down the road to Hinds Community College to play for the Eagles who are always at the top of their game in baseball.

“Out of the seven offers I had, Hinds felt like the right place for me because they have a great weight program and the team is always nationally ranked and makes playoff appearances,” Wilbanks said.

Wilbanks signed on to pitch but will have the opportunity to be a catcher as well, which will allow the Eagles to receive the best of both worlds.

Francisco will be heading off to Holmes Community College to spread his wings as a college athlete playing shortstop and second baseman for the Bulldogs.

Adam Francisco (Photo by Keith Phillips)

“I bonded a lot with the coach and he seems like a really nice guy, so that made me want to play for him,” Francisco said.

Francisco has brought has brought much leadership to the Flashes over the years and is expected to have a big senior season in the spring.

Both Wilbanks and Francisco have played for head coach Sid Naron in high school where many memories, along with victories, were made on the field.

“My favorite memory was my junior year at the Riverfield Tournament when I was pitching at 90 mph and I had three hits, two doubles, and eight strikeouts,” Wilbanks said.

Francisco’s favorite memory went back a little further to his eight grade year where he got his first varsity start.

“I remember being so young getting my first start in eighth grade and all of my teammates were there for me as I worked threw my nervousness,” Francisco said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my coaches and teammates, especially Tristan because we always make ourselves better.”

Both All-County athletes are grateful for those who helped them with the process of receiving scholarships.

(photo by Keith Phillips)

“I would like to thank my mom, dad, and Coach Naron,” Francisco said. Also my travel baseball coach Pete young, Coach Nettles, and all of my team mates throughout the years.”

Wilbanks also shared his appreciation for those who stuck by him.

I want to thank my mom and dad for always pushing me to do my best and always taking me places all over the southeast to play the sport I love,” Wilbanks said. I also want to thank my Coach Sid Naron for guiding me and molding me into a collegiate athlete. He was a big time mentor for me and I look up to him a lot.

“I want to thank Coach Jay Harper for showing me how to pitch and Coach Judson Gatling for pushing me through adversity and helping us stay to the grind. I want to give a huge thanks to my Football coach Bubba Nettles and his coaching staff. Coach Nettles showed me how to use the weight room and definitely helped me gain more strength and become the athlete I am today.

“I also want to thank my travel team Baseball coach Pete Young. He is the one that got me seen by many coaches and put me in intense situations to improve my game.”

“Above all I want to thank my Papa Rayford Wilbanks. He is the definition of a great work ethic and a positive attitude. He has always been my best friend and has always pushed me to do my best at everything. He’s taken me to countless tournaments/sporting events throughout my life. He always pushed me to practice and perfect my craft and I can’t thank him enough. In June of 2019 he suffered a traumatic brain injury but is still with us and I am so grateful. He still asks me when and where I’m playing my games. I definitely wouldn’t be here without all of these people in my life.”

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