BURBANK — Throughout his youth baseball career, Terrell Wong played second base.
However, when he arrived at Burroughs High as a freshman, then-coach Tom Crowther thought Wong would make a talented outfielder.
“It was tough for that first year to switch positions,” Wong said. “I was used to second base and throwing side-armed. I worked on my arm for a year, playing long-toss just about every day.”
Wong’s arm is just one aspect of his defensive strength that made him a successful center fielder at Westmont College in Santa Barbara.
He was rewarded for his defensive prowess last week when Wong was named to the 2010 Rawlings National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics Gold Glove Team.
“It was definitely a surprise when I was told that I won the award,” Wong said. “I have always prided myself in playing good defense, and it’s something that I’ve always worked on.”
The award recognizes nine individuals, one at each defensive position, based on their fielding success. The recipients are selected by the NAIA-American Baseball Coaches Assn. All-America Selection Committee.
“To be recognized with something like this is definitely an honor,” Wong said.
Wong, who graduated from Burroughs in 2006, produced an error-free season while recording 143 putouts and six assists. With his string arm, Wong threw out several runners attempting to score from third and kept many more from making the attempt. Wong started all 47 games for the Warriors this past season.
At the plate, Wong had a .289 batting average and a .444 slugging percentage. The right-hander tallied 52 hits, including five home runs, a triple and 11 doubles. His 32 runs batted in was second on the team.
“We are really excited for [Terrell Wong], and proud of him,” Westmont Head Coach Robert Ruiz said. “It is nice to see him receive recognition on a national scale for the great job he did all year.”
Ruiz added that Wong’s defensive presence made the Warriors a stronger team.
“It is really important to have a guy in center field, especially at our field, that can cover ground in both gaps and be a vocal leader in the outfield,” he said. “He made some real outstanding plays, but probably more importantly, he made the routine plays, got the ball into cuts quickly and kept runners from advancing. Those things don’t necessarily show up in the statistics or the highlights, but he did them consistently well all year.”
Also named to the Golden State Athletic Conference Gold Glove Team, Wong is the first Warrior to be honored with a Gold Glove Award at either the national or conference level.
“I really enjoyed my time playing in college,” Wong said. “I got to play with a great group of guys, and just to be able to play on the college level was a great experience.”
As a senior at Burroughs, Wong earned second-team all-league honors, batting .309.
With a degree in communication studies, Wong said he plans on attending graduate school or applying for law school.