Oklahoma State baseball: Donnie Walton proves himself

Freshman son of OSU pitching coach has solidified middle infield.
by John Helsley Modified: May 29, 2013 at 5:55 pm •  Published: May 29, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma State freshman infielder Donnie Walton poses for a photo before the team leaves for its regional in Louisville on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in Stillwater, Okla.  Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State freshman infielder Donnie Walton poses for a photo before the team leaves for its regional in Louisville on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in Stillwater, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Donnie Walton knew he had plenty to prove in his Oklahoma State baseball debut.

First, he was a freshman trying to break into a veteran lineup.

And then not just any freshman, but the rookie son of one the Cowboys' new coaches, Rob Walton, so that whole preferential treatment perception could have hung over his every step.

“Coming in as a coach's son, I was trying to gain that respect,” he said.

So Donnie defused any potential for a rocky introduction the only way he could. By showing he belonged.

“He's fit in beautifully,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday, who knows something about being a coach's kid, having played for his father, Tom Holliday, with the Cowboys.

“Donnie's a veteran in the way that he carries himself. He may be a freshman in the media guide, but he's not a freshman in the clubhouse.”

Not just some coach's kid, at least in any negative light.

Yet on the positive front, he's played like a coach's kid, with the smarts and savvy and team-first approach of a player who's been paying attention while hanging around dad's office — the ballpark.

Rob, coaching at Oral Roberts for 14 years, the last nine as head coach, took the same approach with his kids that his father did with him. He didn't push himself on them, instead letting them come to him for coaching help.

“He was the kind of kid who asked all the time,” Rob said. “He's got a really good personality and a good heart, so he's really very coachable. I think being around our players and understanding that a sacrifice bunt is a good thing, hit-and-runs are good things, those are the things that create winning baseball.”

Not only is Donnie batting .291 with 26 runs batted in, he set an OSU single-season record with 17 sacrifice bunts.

“Donnie is one of the hardest workers we have,” said senior third baseman Robbie Rea. “He's grown up with being a coach's son, so I think he sees the work ethic that has to be put in with his dad being a successful coach.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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