Photo/Zac Chamblee

Billy Garrity had his heart set on continuing his baseball career at Southern Miss shortly after the Golden Eagles offered him a scholarship. The Sumrall outfielder has dreamed of playing at the Division I level since he was eight-years-old, so the opportunity to stay close to home while still reaching his ultimate goal was too good to pass up. 

Garrity made it official and put pen to paper Wednesday morning by signing his national letter of intent with Southern Miss.

“You can’t ask for anything better than to play in front of the home crowd,” Garrity said. “I’ve always gone to games [at Pete Taylor Park] during weekends. It’s just right down the road, so why not go watch them play? I just like the way they play, and I like the coaches and the players I met.

“I’m excited and blessed to have the opportunity to play at Southern Miss. There’s just a lot of excitement going through my head.”

At this point, Garrity is just eager to get back on a field. After starting at quarterback for Sumrall’s football team last year, Garrity had to sit out the entire 2018 season while recovering from a hip labral tear. So Garrity watched from the sidelines, as the Bobcats started 7-0 and made it back to the postseason for a second consecutive year. 

“It was hard, but I’m proud of them for doing what they did,” Garrity said. “They had a great year. I wish I could’ve played, but now I’m very eager to get back to 100 percent.”

Early indications are that he’s not far from that. Garrity recently finished up his rehab, and now he’s preparing for a strength and conditioning class. His football days are behind him, but his final season in a Sumrall baseball uniform is coming. The Bobcats made it to the second round of the Class 4A playoffs last season, and with a talented senior core returning in 2019, expectations are again sky high. 

“I get the chills talking about the upcoming season,” Garrity said. “It was the same way last year. We expected big things last year, but we slipped up during the regular season, which made us play better teams earlier. We expect to go to state every year, but this year more than ever since we’re all seniors, and it’s our last chance.”

Garrity slugged a team-high eight home runs last season for the Bobcats. After his upcoming senior season at Sumrall, he’ll join several familiar faces at Southern Miss, including West Jones’ Dustin Dickerson and former Bobcat teammate Logan McGrew.