COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - This time last year Tanner English was still celebrating a state championship with St. James High School. Now just a year later, the Murrells Inlet native is celebrating a trip to the Super Regionals with the back-to-back national champion South Carolina Gamecocks.
"St. James, playing there was a blast and this is the next stepping stone in my career I guess, and I'm really enjoying it," said English.
For the former St. James stand out helping lead South Carolina to their 19th straight NCAA tournament win over the weekend is a special accomplishment.
"It's awesome to be a part of this. We still have a long way to go though," English continued. "We played really well this weekend but hopefully we can just carry that into next weekend."
English's freshman campaign in Columbia has been solid, starting every game but one. He is second on the team in batting average, hits and steals, landing him a spot on the SEC's All-Freshman squad.
"I'm really glad I can be helping the team in any way I can. Whether it's in the field or on the plate I'm really happy to be a part of this team."
Gamecock head coach Ray Tanner knew English was special before he stepped on campus. While there's been plenty of good throughout his freshman campaign, Tanner wants to see English learn from his rough days, and there's been a few, English has 59 strikes outs this year, the most on USC.
"It's been a year of growing for him. You're talking about one of the most outstanding high school players in the country. The guy that probably runs better then everybody." Tanner added, "He's a plus outfielder, he'll be our centerfielder next year. He gets really hard on himself when he thinks he's not making a contribution and we talked about staying level all the time."
English agreed by adding, "Baseball is a very humbling game. Coach Tanner talks to me about that every day. You've got your good games, and your bad games, and you've got the games that are kind of in between that. You got to keep plugging every day and just go out there and try to have fun each and every day."
English knows playing at the highest level in college baseball, he's got to take the good with the bad. And for now he's trying to enjoy the ride, as South Carolina tries to win their third straight national title
"We work our butts off and when were not satisfied we got to go back out there and keep plugging away. We're not going to take anything lightly. We're going to keep working harder and harder every single day."
Tanner and South Carolina will play the winner of the Charlottesville Regional next weekend, that will be either Appalachian State or Oklahoma.