Catholic’s Ivey going from field to field

Photo: Christian Ivey

Christian Ivey’s days are filled with football and baseball as he juggles both sports but the Catholic senior knows he’ll have to change gears soon in preparation for the Alabama All-Star Sports Week baseball game at Riverwalk Stadium.

“I’m having fun with football, football, football,” he said. “Then I know I’ve got baseball coming up, so I flip a switch, watch some baseball videos, get me motivated a little and then I’m in the baseball mood. Hey, there’s some kids that would be dying to do something like this so I’m not going to take it for granted or feel sorry for myself for having to do a bunch of stuff all day.”

That “bunch of stuff” may leave him a little time to visit his favorite fishing hole, but most of his days are filled with football, where he’s the starting quarterback for the Knights, or baseball, where he was selected as one of the state’s top juniors to play in the Alabama All-Star Sports Week.

“He could play both baseball and football in college,” said Catholic coach Aubrey Blackwell, who coaches Ivey in both sports. “He’s going to get offers in both. It’s tough. There’s no cheap way to play college baseball. Being an outfielder that doesn’t pitch, he’s going to get 50 percent (scholarship) at the most. We really believe he’s a defensive back at the next level because he ran a 4.4 40 (yard dash).”

Because he has a legitimate shot to play collegiately in either sport, he hasn’t concentrated on just one sport, leaving him with an action-packed summer.

“This summer, I’ve been going to baseball camps and football camps,” Ivey said. “I’m trying to give myself the best chance at both and see where the ball goes from there. Give yourself the best chance at both because I love both and whatever God wants to happen is going to happen.

“I have an equal amount of fun with both. I just look at it like I could be unfortunate like some people and not even have the opportunity, so I just try to think about it as a game. I’m doing something I enjoy, so I’m going to have fun.”

“Fun” starts early in the morning and goes all day.

“We start our (football workout) day at 7 a.m. and go to 10 a.m.,” Blackwell said. “He leaves our place and goes home and takes a nap, eats lunch, goes to Robb Macrory and hits two or three days a week, then plays in a summer baseball league. The days he doesn’t hit with Robb, he’s back at Catholic doing footwork drills, trying to lower his 40 time.”

Last week, he substituted football drills and baseball hitting for all-day workouts at Auburn University’s baseball camp, leaving even less free time in his daily routine.

“I’ve got to make sure I sleep and get some water in me,” Ivey laughed. “On Wednesday, the Auburn baseball camp was scheduled to end at 12, but I got a call (from my father) that wakes me up and said (Blackwell) scheduled a 7-on-7 at St. James, so if you can leave now and leave them your room key, that’s what you need to do. So I did that and drove straight to St. James and did a 7-on-7.”

The two days of practice leading up to the all-star baseball game will actually give Ivey a chance to rest and give other people who haven’t had a chance to watch him an opportunity to study an overlooked star who hit .478 last year with five home runs, eight doubles, four triples, 29 RBIs and a .525 on-base percentage.

“I don’t think anybody can get him out,” Blackwell said. “You put together the numbers he had, it’s absurd. (The all-star game) is a tremendous honor for him and says a lot about the hard work he has put in. Christian’s got an opportunity to play at the next level and this is going to be an opportunity for him to be recruited and to put the best he can out on the field for other people to see and prove what we already know about him – that he’s a good player that plays the game hard and does it the right way.”

Ivey isn’t the only local player in the game. Trinity’s Will Aaron also will have a chance to impress college recruiters and both players will be coached by Montgomery Academy’s Stephen Vosel, who has the rare distinction of being selected to the all-star event as both a player and coach.

“When I found out, I was shocked,” Vosel said. “Here I am, just finishing my first season, and I’m getting invited to do this. The reason I feel I was chosen to do that was because of the season we had, because of my players. All of it’s got to do with my players.”

Vosel played in the all-star game when it was in Huntsville, so this will be his first opportunity to be on the field in front of the hometown crowd.

“It’s going to be awesome,” he said. “I’ve built so many relationships in this first year. That’s one thing I’m really looking forward to, being around these guys for two days and hopefully having a positive impact on them.”

The all-star game is a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. on July 18. Vosel looks forward to being on the same team with Ivey and Aaron instead of trying to figure out ways to get them out.

“That’ll be unique,” he said. “I already know those guys a little bit and it’ll be fun to be able to cut up with them some.”

Ivey, meanwhile, hopes he flipped the switch in time to put together a standout performance on the diamond.

“Maybe if I did well and showed some people there some good stuff, maybe I could get a decent offer to go play somewhere,” he said.