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(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)

THE RIGHT STUFF: Hun School mound star Steve Garrison fires a pitch in a practice this spring. Last June, Garrison toed the rubber at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia as he helped pitch the Mercer All-Stars to the title in the Carpenter Cup Classic.
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Hun's Garrison Hit the Big Time As He Pitched Mercer to Title

Bill Alden

Steve Garrison may only be entering his senior year at the Hun School but he has already lived one of his dreams.

In late June, the gifted lefty pitcher toed the rubber at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for Mercer all-stars in the championship game of the Carpenter Cup Classic.

Garrison went three innings, giving up just two hits and striking out three as to get the win as Mercer topped the Tri-Cape all-stars 3-1 to win its first title in the 19 years of the event which showcases teams of high school all stars from various parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

In reflecting on pitching in the plush new home of the Phillies, which seats 43,500, Garrison said it was a magical experience.

"It was a once in a lifetime thing," said Garrison. "We were playing at the University of Pennsylvania one game and then the next game was at Citizens Bank Park. I was so excited that we had a chance to play for the championship. I knew we had a great team and a real chance to win it."

The unflappable Garrison, known for his cool-headed approach to pitching, asserted that he and his teammates weren't overwhelmed by the excitement of performing in the major league environment.

"Once the game started, we were just thinking about winning, " said Garrison, who pitched Hun to the state Prep A title in 2002 as a freshman. "I was just looking to concentrate, zero in and throw strikes. I was confident we could do the job."

As Garrison has developed through his high school career, he has gained increasing confidence in his stuff. "My fastball and my cutter are my best pitches right now," said Garrison, who typically batted third in the order this spring for Hun.

"I'm getting confidence in throwing all of my pitches. When I'm hitting and I get ahead in the count, I look for a fastball. As a pitcher, I try to keep batters off balance by throwing breaking stuff and not giving in."

Despite what he has already accomplished on the mound, Garrison recognizes that he has plenty of room for improvement. "I need to work on my velocity," added Garrison, who is currently pitching for Ewing Post 314 in the Mercer County American Legion League. "I want to get bigger and gain some weight."

Garrison is hoping that his night at Citizens Bank Park was just his first taste of the big time. "My preference is to play for someone in Division I," said Garrison, who is looking at playing in the south, possibly for an Atlantic Coast Conference school.

"But if I get drafted and they really wanted me, I'd have a tough time turning that down. I'll go with whoever wants me. I've always wanted to play pro ball, that's the dream of every little boy. I want to go as far as I can."

Having already accomplished one dream this summer, it would hardly be surprising to see Garrison go on to achieve some of his other aspirations.

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