Initially, no junior colleges had any interest in Tommy Giles. Now he currently resides in right field for one of the preeminent Division I baseball powerhouses: the University of Miami.
It took plenty of e-mailing and effort on Giles’ part to find a junior college to try out for coming out of Vero Beach High School. After taking a year off, he finally settled on Central Florida Community College.
“It’s fun to look back, going from nobody to one of the best teams in the nation,” Giles said.
After a strong freshman season when Giles was the Mid-Florida Conference player of the year, Assistant Coach Gino DiMare contacted Giles about coming to play for Miami.
“[Miami was] actually the first trip I went on,” Giles said. “But I didn’t need to see any other schools, I signed right away.”
Giles committed to Miami in the fall of his sophomore season, when a series of injuries hampered his play and dropped his batting average from .371 to .252.
Giles has grown tremendously since coming out of high school, developing mentally from the rejection of not being recruited right away. He also added four inches and around 50 pounds to become 6-0, 190-pound man he is today.
His baseball career began when Giles was four. There is tape of Giles crawling around the floor with a baseball in his hand.
“I can’t remember a day where I haven’t had a game coming up,” Giles said.
Giles played many different sports when he was younger, but his father focused him on playing baseball.
“My father wasn’t a big baseball fan,” Giles said. “However, he thought it would be a better profession then football.”
Among Giles’ many talents, he is a licensed multi-engine, commercial and instrument pilot. He obtained these licenses when he took the year off after high school.
Giles has been a welcomed addition to the Hurricane’s lineup this season, providing a combination of power, solid defense and timely hitting this season.
“I haven’t gone into any bad slumps,” Giles said. “I have been pretty consistent. When the situation arises that I need a big hit, I seem to get it.”
Giles said the biggest difference between junior college and playing for Miami is traveling on the road.
“It makes a big difference with everyone yelling and hollering at you,” Giles said. “You can’t let it get in your head.”
One of the constants for the coaching staff this year, Giles is one of two players to have started in every game this season.
Giles said it is interesting to look back on the path of his baseball career.
“When other people have told you your whole career you can’t do it, to do it is pretty special,” Giles said. “I just want to have fun while it’s here.”
Denis Brown can be contacted at email@example.com