Photo courtesy of Gayle Borgen. Brock Wilken connects with the ball on a swing.

Brock Wilken had one of the best individual seasons in Bloomingdale and Hillsborough County baseball history.

The junior hit a school record and Hillsborough County-leading 12 home runs while batting .468 with 26 RBIs and 37 hits in 79 at bats in just 25 games. He was the first player from Hillsborough County since Stan Rowe (Plant, 2010) to hit double digit home runs in over a decade. He was second in the state of Florida in home runs, one behind Springstead’s Jiovel Lantigua. He was selected as the 813Preps.com Hitter of the Year and was selected into the Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay baseball First Team.

“I am honestly kinda shocked at my own stats. I know I had the capability to do it, but to actually do it was really crazy for me and especially after having an OK sophomore year, my teammates picked me up and lifted me up throughout the off-season and helped me get to my full capabilities,” said Wilken.

The Wake Forest commit accumulated these great numbers while also making the switch from third base to the physically demanding catching position. Wilken took on a bigger role for the team, leading the pitching staff as well.

As a freshman and sophomore, Wilken played third base. The team needed a catcher after the previous catcher, Jake Gilbert, graduated, so he made the change to help his team, even though he will play third base in college. It was a natural change for him because he was originally a catcher before high school

“He was great all season, and he was a guy I could trust all the time in any situation,” said pitcher Myles Caba. “He helped me learn what it was like to be on the same page as your catcher with him calling the pitches. He also made me feel comfortable throwing whatever pitch he called. We were on the same page 99 percent of the time, and I would rarely shake him off.”

Wilken is the nephew of Bloomingdale Head Coach Kris Wilken, who also played catcher for the University of Houston and as a minor leaguer for the Baltimore Orioles. The younger Wilken transferred to Bloomingdale after moving from North Carolina to Florida for his freshman year of high school to play for his uncle, who has a great track record as a hitting coach and getting his players to the next level. Wilken also wanted to compete against tougher competition in Hillsborough County, one of the top baseball counties in the country in regard to talent.

Wilken and the Bulls have high expectations for next season, returning five key starters from a team that had success last season, going 16-9 and advancing to regionals for the third year in a row. It will be hard to duplicate last year’s season for Wilken, but he thinks there is always room for improvement.

“There’s always something you can improve on, whether you have a great season or a bad one,” he said. “I will have to get better defensively, for sure, all-around at third and catching, and I’ll work on being that leader and teammate that my team needs. You can always work on being a better person.”

Wilken plans on attending Wake Forest after he graduates, but he might have a choice to make if he gets drafted in next year’s MLB Draft.