BE's Geoffrey Gilbert finishes stellar high school baseball career
Comparing baseball players from one generation to another can create lively debate, heated discussion and no sure-fire conclusions.
At Bishop England, one of the most prestigious programs in the state, you have to be a No. 1 draft pick to even be considered. And there is renewed debate about the best BE baseball player ever after Geoffrey Gilbert just concluded a brilliant career.
There’s infielder Drew Meyer (Class of 1999), an all-American at the University of South Carolina, who was the first-round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2002.
Then there was infielder Reese Havens (Class of 2005) an All-American at the University of South Carolina, who was a first-round pick of the New York Mets in 2008.
Now there is Gilbert the pitcher, who will attend Clemson and probably won’t be a first-round next month when Major League holds its draft.
But time is on Gilbert’s side. He’s a 6-2, 200-pound lefty pitcher, which makes him a premium prize for Tiger coach Monte Lee’s recruiting class. Gilbert has a fastball that hits 90 mph, a curve ball that buckles hitters’ knees and a knuckleball that bewilders batters. He probably won’t be a first-round pick next month, but most definitely could be at the end of his junior season at Clemson.
Mike Darnell, who has been associated with the BE program for a long time, sounds more like a politician than coach when he talks about the three stars.
“He is the best pitcher we have had here at BE since I have been associated with the program,” Darnell said. “He is probably in the conversation with Drew Meyer and Reese Havens; those guys were first round draft picks. We will have to see what happens after Geoffrey is finished playing before we can have the final say on where he ranks.”
Gilbert got his first taste of varsity action as a seventh-grader, but made his lasting impression from his sophomore year on. He was 8-0 as a sophomore and turned it up a notch last spring when he became the first junior ever to win the Gatorade South Carolina Player of the Year. He was 10-0 last spring, allowing only 19 hits in 66 2/3 innings while striking out 93.
He finally lost a game to a Palmetto State foe this spring, but was still remarkable with an 8-1 record, allowing only 30 hits in 61 2/3 innings while striking out 102 batters.
His three-year totals are 26-1 with a microscopic ERA of 0.63. He pitched in 175 2/3 innings and struck out 278.
His totals also include three state championships. And that’s how Gilbert wants to remembered.
“The three state championships we have won are by far my biggest accomplishments,” said Gilbert, who volunteers so often and is involved in so many worthwhile causes that you have to wonder if Mother Teresa is somewhere in the family tree. “We won three years in a row with completely different teams. It was very cool to see the progress we made each year throughout the season.”
He doesn’t worry about the “Who is best?” debate and isn’t focused on the draft.
“The draft, to me, is something you sit back and relax on,” Gilbert said. “I have put in all the work I could possibly put in. I cannot stress over anyone’s opinions of me, I just have to trust that I have done all I can do to put myself in a position for success.”
That attitude is what separates the greats from the rest of the pack. So do work habits.
“He has an incredible work ethic and believes in himself no matter what the circumstances are,” Darnell said.