Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — Aaron Gillum is as smooth as silk at shortstop. His movements are fluid, his reaction time is immediate and his instincts are comparable with any other position player in the area.
And with the bat in his hands, if he simply makes contact with the ball, his speed is going to carry him to a boatload of base hits.
So far, Aaron has helped a young Southeastern program find its way. Early on, the Panthers sit at 2-2 under new head coach Ron Free.
We got the opportunity to catch up with Aaron early this season to discuss playing his favorite position, coach Free, the Panthers’ sense of brotherhood, and much more.
Question: Can you talk about why you love playing shortstop and what you think makes you so good at it?
Gillum: Shortstop is a position I’ve played all of my life. I love playing there for multiple reasons, always having to be on my toes, never having an easy play, and always being on the move. The pitchers do their job of giving me grounds balls and it’s my job to finish the play by getting the runner out.
Q: Take me through an at-bat for you. What are you looking for each time at the plate?
AG: Depending on the situation, it depends on my approach. I’m always looking, as a leadoff batter, for a way to get on base. I’m looking for a pitch I can drive until I get two strikes and then I have to protect. I want to do whatever it takes to get on or move runners over by sacrificing myself out or to drive runners in.
Q: How about coach Ron Free, what’s he brought to the program that you love?
AG: Coach Free is a great coach. He cares about us on and off the field. He is very competitive and wants to win and I love how he builds us up as a team. There is nothing individual about us. We are a team and we do everything together. We have 15 people on the team and all 15 people have a job they have to do in order for us to win.
Q: Southeastern has always had a type of brotherhood in every sport. What’s this year’s team like and how close are you guys?
AG: Our team this year is very close. We work hard everyday and work well together. Off the field, we’re just as close.
Q: Easy question. What’s your favorite part about baseball?
AG: My favorite part of baseball is the teamwork. Baseball is a game that you have to have a good team to win. You can get on base five times a game but that means nothing if your teammates can’t knock you in. Everyone has a job to do and everyone has to do their job. Baseball is a team sport.
Q: If you had to describe yourself as an athlete, how would you do it?
AG: Myself as an athlete … well I would say I’m hardworking and very competitive. I like to win, no matter what the game is. I hate losing. I do my best everyday for my team and my team helps me become a better athlete.
Q: Looking towards the rest of this season, what are your overall team expectations?
AG: My overall expectations are to win the day. We are going to work hard and get better everyday. We will learn from our mistakes. We will compete in every game this year. Hopefully we get a lot of wins along the way and, come tournament time, we are where we want to be.