Dirt is the word.
Will Bastian is a catcher with a brilliant past, and perhaps a brighter future.
He recently graduated from Bishop England High School after helping the Bishops win back-to-back Class AAA state championships and will matriculate to The Citadel this fall to continue his education and “baseball career.”
He plays catcher and wears about 10 pounds of equipment behind the plate, and that can cause even the best of those in shape to perspire during a two-hour game played in the Lowcountry humidity. And when that perspiration meets occasional blood and a lot of dirt, whether it’s from a head-first-slide, hook slide or collision at home plate, Bastian’s uniform looks like a crime scene.
Just ask BE coach Mike Darnell.
“He’s the dirt bag of the team,” Darnell said in a preseason interview last year. “He’s always hustling and getting dirty. It’s exactly what you want from a catcher. He will determine how our season goes.”
The Bishops posted a 31-2 record and arguably were the best team in the state. When the going got tough, Bastian calmed the pitchers, collected the big hit and provided the spark.
He also got dirty -- very dirty. His mom, Lee, often works extra innings to get his uniform clean.
“My uniform cleaning trick is to soak it in Oxiclean, Dawn, Fels-Naptha soap … and at times, (I use) a power washer.”
Just in case you are wondering, Fels-Naptha soap is a laundry soap and was once used as an effective home remedy for exposure to poison ivy and other skin irritants.
It seems Bastian was born to play baseball – and get dirty. As a youngster he wore a T-Shirt that proclaimed “I make dirt look good” and was often found playing baseball on the BE softball field while his older brothers played on the varsity baseball team.
Bastian started playing baseball and getting dirty at the T-ball level. Umpires had to remind him that there were no head-first slides at that level of competition. But a legend was born.
“I pride myself on that more than anything,” Bastian said of getting dirty. “My skills on the baseball field are not going to make your jaw drop, but there’s not a single player in the state who works harder than me. I always play at the maximum level.”
Bastian was a fixture on the BE varsity team since March 15, 2014 when he was called up to the varsity as an eighth-grader. He started every game once he was on the varsity. He earned all-state honors, but drew a blank when asked about offensive statistics from 2018. He does know his fielding percentage from his senior year: 1.000.
He said winning the state championship as a junior was incredible because not many expected the Bishops to accomplish the feat.
“We wanted to prove the skeptics wrong,” Bastian said. “We wanted to prove our worth – and we did. The second (title) was a work of domination. We lost two games and redeemed both of our losses.”
Next up is The Citadel, the military college his older brother Drew graduated from in 2015.
“Drew and Morgan, they instilled the love of baseball in me,” Bastian said. “They taught me how to love the game. I have a lot of Citadel connections. Playing baseball for The Citadel is something I wanted to do since I was little.”