Wednesday, May 23, 2012
No limits for Georgia outfielder Skye Bolt
By Matthew Muench
Holy Innocents' (Atlanta) senior outfielder Skye Bolt hit .430 this year with 22 doubles, eight homers and 31 RBIs.
Holy Innocents’ (Atlanta) star center fielder Skye Bolt thinks his name is the biggest reason people remember him.
That is kind of true.
Who could forget a name like Skye Bolt?
“I love the name and appreciate it,” said Bolt, who got his name because his dad wanted him to have a name that ‘popped’. “I like to think it definitely helps me in a positive way.”
But if you met Bolt and watched him swing a baseball bat, it would be safe to say you would remember him for bigger reasons.
The sweet-swinging switch hitter is rated the nation’s No. 37 player in the ESPN 100 and he’s a top prospect for this year’s MLB draft. He’s also signed with North Carolina.
Numerous scouts attended his games this season, in which he hit .430 with 22 doubles, eight homers and 31 RBIs and guided Holy Innocents’ to the second round of the Class A state playoffs.
Bolt has also played in multiple showcase events in his career, including last summer’s Perfect Game All-American Classic.
He said most scouts have told him he could be drafted as early as the second round. Once he is drafted, he will make a decision on whether he heads to college or begins his journey in professional baseball.
“I truly believe one day Skye will play 162 games a year in the pros,” said Holy Innocents’ coach Dylan Deal. “With a name like Skye Bolt, he was born to be a ballplayer on TV.”
But Bolt has had just as big an impact volunteering at the Goshen Valley Boys’ Ranch in Waleska, Ga., roughly 50 miles north of Atlanta. The ranch is a nonprofit that serves young men ages 9-20 in Georgia’s foster care system. The boys who live there come from homes where their parents neglected or abused them. The organization provides them a place to live until a family adopts them.
“Charity work is one of those things that takes me away from baseball and makes me realize that baseball is just a game,” said Bolt. “Sometimes getting too head over heels for baseball can make you forget about the important things, like friends and family.”
Bolt got involved with Goshen largely due to his parents’ influence in charity work and because Goshen’s residential life director, Zach Blend, is his former middle school and junior varsity baseball coach. Bolt’s stepmom, Connie, is also on the board of advisors.
“I cannot think of another young man who has devoted as much time and effort into trying to create a better environment for these kids at the ranch,” Blend said of Bolt. “He has a very busy schedule with baseball and he somehow always finds time for the kids.”
“I am more proud of him as a person than I am of him as an athlete,” said Bolt’s mother, Eva Murray. “A sports career can only take you so far. He won’t always be an athlete. He will always be a great person. He seems to touch people everywhere he goes.”
At the ranch, Bolt plays sports and eats dinner with the kids and visits as much as he can. He donates baseball equipment and teaches them about baseball and other sports.
During Christmas, he spearheaded a toy drive at local high schools to give gifts to the ranch, and during Easter he helped bring in baskets full of candy.
“I love to help because these kids absolutely inspire me,” Bolt said. “They greet you with a smile and they embrace every day like it’s a blessing. I appreciate them so much.”
Blend said the boys look up to Bolt, and not because of what he can do on the field.
“They realize he is very skilled in baseball, but they know him more for the type of guy he is,” Blend said. “They know him more for his kindness and friendship. The way he carries himself is such a positive influence and impact.”
Proof that people will remember Skye Bolt for a lot more than just his unique name.