Scouts Turn Out In Force for PC/FCD Game
Pinecrest pitching coach James Baldwin was a busy man before Wednesday’s National Game of the Week (Perfect Game USA) be-tween the Patriots and Forsyth Country Day.
The 11-year former major leaguer exchanged warmed greetings with many of the some 40 baseball scouts that traveled to John Williams Field, principally to watch Patriot right-hander Dillon Maples, one of the top pitching prospects in the country.
The biggest hug may have gone to 82-year-old Alex Cosmides, the scout who signed him as a fourth round draft choice of the White Sox after his graduation from Pinecrest in 1990. Finally, he told the well-wishers he had to leave to warm up his pitcher.
About 20 scouts watched Maples get ready in the bullpen with paper and pen in hand. After pitching an impressive 3 2/3 innings in Pinecrest’s 5-4 victory, he was asked how he feels about being in a fishbowl.
“Well, J.B. (Baldwin) sat down with me before the Northwood game (scrimmage) and that’s when it first got crazy with those 50 guys (scouts),” he said. “He talked to me about what was going to happen and not to get nervous. His talk, and last summer, prepared me for the season.”
A summer that included competing for the U.S. national team at the 18-and under world championships in Canada, and an appearance at the AFLAC High School All-Star Game in San Diego, provided a good introduction to pressure situations. It was a different story for freshman Tristan Helms, who took over for him in the fourth, facing a Fury lineup stacked with five Division I signees.
“I was real nervous,” the lefthander said. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t think I was going to make the team. When I was in the pen, Coach Baldwin told me to relax and just do what we do in the bullpen. I went out there and calmed my nerves and threw strikes.”
Helms left the game with a 4-1 lead after walking the lead-off batter in the top of the seventh. He struck out three batters, walked three, and allowed one hit and no earned runs in 2 1/3 innings.
Contact Charlie Berg-mann at cbergmann@nc. rr.com.
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