Prep of the Year Honorable Mention: Charlie Welch

The lights at Moody Field flicker on, illuminating the diamond as the day fades to night. It is the bottom of the eighth inning and the Giants have a narrow lead. With a mere three outs needed to end the game, each player is determined to achieve another win. Redwood is on the field, and the bases are loaded. The opposing pitcher winds up and throws the ball, which hits the aluminum bat, cracking as the line drive shoots straight into the mitt of senior Charlie Welch. Positioned slightly to the left of second base, he catches the ball and launches it to first base where the final out is secured. The dugout storms the field, and the stands go wild. 

At the age of five, Welch was drawn to baseball in admiration of his older brother. Starting in Ross Valley Little League, he proceeded to play for Bombers Baseball Club, a travel baseball team, for seven years. Welch’s grit and persistence have led him to become co-captain of the varsity baseball team. After years of playing, he is committed to California Polytechnic State University to play Division I baseball. 

Charlie Welch, co-captain of the boys’ varsity baseball team, is headed the California Polytechnic State University. Courtesy of Brett Crawford.

For the past four years on varsity, Welch has been a standout player. After learning the ropes of high school baseball during his first year on varsity, he went on to start in his next three seasons. Welch’s role as a captain and leader was shaped by his experience playing with upperclassmen, something he tries to pass on to the younger players. 

 

“You have to work hard every day. Practicing and getting in the weight room in the off-season is what sets you up for success in the season. I have tried to lead by example and push my guys to work hard,” Welch said. 

Welch’s dedication has not gone unnoticed. He has the highest batting average of 0.439 and the highest on-base percentage of 0.505, and he leads the team in hits (36) and runs batted in (20). With no surprise, his success on the field led him to be named the 2022 Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) Player of the Year. He was additionally awarded the E.E. Boyden Award, given to “an outstanding senior male athlete” at Redwood’s Athletic banquet. 

Cole McGowan, who has been Welch’s teammate of nine years and co-captain of the team this year, has witnessed Welch’s development firsthand. 

“[Welch] is definitely one of the smartest players I’ve ever played with [because of] his in-game decision-making and ability to know what to do and read situations. I have not seen too many players who can do the things that he does in-game, like picking apart defenses and understanding what to do in the right situation,” McGowan said.

Since he started playing, Welch has been a shortstop, the position that drives the communication among the other infielders. Even in the most nerve-racking situations, Welch has found ways to lead with ease.

“He’s always been the shortstop and that top-of-the-lineup guy. He’s in charge of running a ton of plays throughout our infield and keeping all [the infielders] in order during the games,” McGowan said. “There’s a lot of respect for him among the team.” 

The skills that Welch has learned from his time playing baseball serve as invaluable lessons that can be utilized as he transitions into playing at the collegiate level. 

“Being able to communicate to your team and being a good teammate are the most important things,” Welch said. “It’s going to help me throughout my whole baseball career and whatever I do next.”