Baseball has been a way of life for Cody Gwin since he walked on the field at the age of five to play his first tee-ball game. For Cody, it was love at first swing.
Thirteen years later, Cody has found his position and the first leg of his dream has come to an end with the second about to begin. Cody Gwin graduated from Marianna High School in May. He was the starting catcher for the Marianna Bulldogs baseball team, a position he has anchored down since his sophomore year. About baseball Gwin says, “Catching is my favorite position. I started catching at M.E.R.E. when I was 12 and then caught for MMS when I was 13 and a seventh grader under coach (Hunter) Nolen. Coach Nolen was really good. I caught on JV my freshman year and my sophomore year, they moved me to varsity.”
Gwin says no other position ever appealed to him like being behind the plate. He played third and pitched a little while playing rec ball at the mere. But nothing gives him the feeling of being at home like being behind the plate.
Gwin has put in many hours after everyone else has long called it quits to get better at his position so that he can continue to play the game he loves at the next level. Gwin says of his college ‘dreams’ he always had aspirations to be good enough to play for Chipola College and coach Jeff Johnson, “I like Coach Jeff and he knows a lot, he’s a great coach.” That dream became a reality last November when he signed on the dotted line to play for Chipola.
When asked about where his love of the game developed, Gwin quickly gives credit to Seth Reed, “Coach Seth (Reed) made me love the game, he was great, and hearing him talk about the game made me love it.” Gwin had the opportunity to be coached by Reed in travel ball, along with coaches Meredith Tharpe, coach Linda Lee Harrell, and Tom Malone when he played for the Mad Dogs and the River Dogs travel teams. He praised all of his coaches throughout his baseball playing days.
Although Cody played tackle and flag football at the recreational level, he never pursued any other sport than baseball, it was a no brainer for him, “I just love baseball.”
His talents do not go unnoticed on and off the field. Athletic Director John Donaldson has nothing but praise for Gwin, “He’s a hard worker, a good student, just a great kid. He’s competitive and he’s done a lot work to get better at his position. He’s constantly trying to improve.”
Linda Lee Harrell had the pleasure of coaching Gwin at an early age, “Cody has always been a team player. Picking his teammates up if they faltered and celebrating with them in their successes. He is one of the hardest working players I have coached and I still enjoy his enthusiasm for the game as I now watch from the sidelines. He represents Marianna well on and off the field.”
Former coach and now MHS principal Hunter Nolen says Gwin is an all-around good kid, “Cody is the type of player that would do anything you ask of him without question and never complain. Cody has always been a great defensive catcher and is now starting to become an excellent hitter. I remember when I coached the middle school team some years back and I had my good friend Jeff Mathis stop in and speak to the team. He spoke to the team about hitting and then worked with the catchers. At the end of practice Jeff made a comment to me about how hard Cody was working in practice and I told him he does that every single day. Not only does Cody work hard on the diamond but also in the classroom. He is an outstanding student and is well liked among his peers. I can’t say enough good things about Cody. One of the hardest working kids I know and I am honored to have had the privilege of coaching this young man.”
Chipola coach Jeff Johnson was all smiles at being able to sign some local talent, “You know I really like Cody a lot. He’s a really good young man. I’ve been impressed with what he’s done behind the plate. He’s a good defensive catcher and I expect him to continue to get better and better with his bat. It’s nice to have a local guy and a guy that can play at our level from Mariana.”
For Gwin, this is the first of his dreams coming true behind years of work and forgoing the fun times to hone his skills behind the plate and at the plate. Gwin says it was all worth it, “I am really excited. I am ready to play. I have always wanted to play for Chipola. Coach Johnson is so good at baseball, probably knows more than anybody I know about the game. He knows a lot and he’s a great coach.”
Gwin says he hopes college is a stepping stone and a great experience towards his goal to play professional baseball but that wherever the game stops for him, it’s been great. He thanks those who helped him achieve his goals thus far, “my parents, definitely God, and Seth Reed for making me love the game.”
Cody is the son of Jeff and Tina Gwin.
The staff and publisher of the TIMES wish Gwin the very best in pursuit of his dream.