“It was a great moment,” Akins said of that play.
The Sunbelt might have been a highlight of Akins’ baseball career, but it might also have meant the end of his football career. With so many college scouts at the Sunbelt, Akins said he realized that he had a much better chance at a college scholarship in baseball.
To further improve his chances at a baseball scholarship, Akins dropped football and played for the Mid-South Prospects baseball team this past fall.
“Watching those guys, I went to all their games,” Akins said of the football team. “I did miss it, but I think it really helped me, playing for the fall (baseball) team.”
So far, Akins said, he’s drawn interest from both Carl Albert State College in Poteau and Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton. He said he’d go to whichever school “gives me the best opportunity.”
Those fall baseball games seem to be paying off for Akins this spring. Through his first 12 games, including a 9-1 win against then-unbeaten Eufaula on Saturday, Akins is batting .548 with nine doubles, 17 runs scored and 17 runs batted in.
As a pitcher, Akins has gone 4-2, striking out 51 batters in 33 total innings and posting a 1.06 earned run average.
“The kid’s special,” Hartshorne coach Justin James said of Akins. “I’ve had a lot of good players that have spent a lot of time at the game, and none of them have spent as much as him. He lives it and breathes it. ... He’ll go home, probably, tonight and take more cuts. That’s just who he is and how he goes about his game. Energy, he plays with such great energy. The kids all look up to him because he’s very likable and respectable.”
Akins said he’s hoping this year’s team can reach the state tournament. Though his favorite aspect of baseball is hitting, pitching and playing shortstop also have their appealing elements.