Wayne County is full of up and coming young athletes. One of those exceptional athletes is left-handed baseball player, Gavin Mixon, of Jesup. Gavin pitches and plays 1st base. At the beginning of June, Gavin attended a tryout in Atlanta for the USSSA Baseball nationwide, All-American tournament. There were over 200 players trying to make the team. Gavin was the highest scoring hitter among his 10-year-old age group in these tryouts and also clocked in at 58 mph while pitching. Gavin was chosen as a “direct selection,” an honor only given to the top four players, therefore immediately selected to represent the Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina region (Atlantic Division) and play in the tournament. The remaining team players were selected on June 30.
All On Georgia had the pleasure of interviewing Gavin and his father/coach, Donald prior to the tournament. We spent an evening at baseball fields in Jesup, watching Gavin practice and prepare for his upcoming tournament. After watching Gavin warm up for just a few minutes, it was already clear that he has a gift for baseball. With his father standing at 6 feet tall and his older bother at 6 feet, 4 inches, it’s no surprise to find that Gavin tops the charts at 5 feet, 4.5 inches and weighs 166 pounds at 10 years of age. Although Gavin has consistently grown at a rapid pace, Donald explained that Gavin has been able to maintain a large amount of coordination, often difficult for larger ball players.
“Gavin has absolutely progressed more than we could have imagined. He’s always been a little big for his age and very coordinated but he has kept a very steep growth curve. He has really grown a lot. The surprising thing with that is that he has maintained his coordination. So now, at this point, he’s strong and he’s coordinated and so he’s been able to have some success in baseball.”
It is very evident that Donald has been extremely involved in Gavin’s baseball career from early on. He has coached Gavin all through recreation ball. In the last 3 years, they have only lost 1 game- an incredible record. Donald was also invited to coach Gavin’s team in the USSSA tournament. In seeing Donald’s talent and precision in coaching Gavin, it is absolutely understandable why Gavin has become so successful in his sport. We asked Donald about his experience in watching Gavin grow and progress:
“At a young age, 3 or 4 years old, we’ve got some clips where I’m pitching to him in the backyard with baseballs and he almost took my head off on one and, at that point, I knew this boy’s got a little pop at bat. So at an early age, he had very good mechanics. He could swing very hard at an early age. So, it was immediate.”
“We’ve got some clips- we were shooting out in the yard, not really intending on catching any clips… and Gavin, at 4 years old, he could swing all the way around and really follow through. He’d really hit some shots. There’s a shot where I’m having to duck because he’s driving it right back up the middle there. You can see the ball shooting out over my head. I don’t know why I was sitting that close to him. I learned, right then, not to get that close. I was backing up after that.”
After watching Gavin’s practice, All On Georgia – Wayne’s Zander Roberts sat down with Gavin and asked him about his career thus far and the upcoming USSSA All-American games. He also spoke with Gavin’s father, Donald. All On Georgia learned a lot about Gavin during this time, including that his favorite baseball player is Freddie Freeman. Gavin also shared what makes him nervous during games, his experience in trying out for the tournament, and who his favorite coach is. If you guessed his dad, you would be right.
The USSSA organization holds the annual nationwide tournament in Orlando, Florida, at the Disney Sports Complex. Gavin will be playing in the weeklong tournament this week, from August 7-12. The pool play game schedule for the USSSA 10u All-American Atlantic Region – National is as follows:
Tuesday, August 9, 8:00 AM
Central Region – American vs. Atlantic Region – National
Tuesday, August 9, 12:00 PM
Northwest Region – American vs. Atlantic Region – National
Wednesday, August 10, 10:00 AM
Atlantic Region – National vs. Midwest Region – American
The tournament bracket will be made after pool games and will be single elimination from that point on. The championship game is expected to be televised on Friday, August 12, at 12:00 PM via MLB.com. Gavin tells All On Georgia that he is most excited about pitching in the tournament and is looking forward to playing with some of the best baseball players in the country.