Web Edition

lead stories
other news



chess forum
town talk


press releases


last week's issue

real estate
classified ads


(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)

FEVER PITCH: Hun School star pitcher Steve Garrison fires a pitch in a practice session last season. Last Wednesday, Garrison struck out 14 as he pitched Hun to a 7-1 win over Peddie. In upcoming action, the Raiders, now 3-1, host Hightstown on April 16 and Montclair Kimberley on April 18.
end of caption

Garrison Drawing Attention of Scouts As He Looks to End Hun Career in Style

By Bill Alden

They stood behind the backstop at the Hun School baseball field last Wednesday intently peering out at the pitcher's mound, some with notebooks, and others with stopwatches or radar guns.

They were the posse of major league baseball scouts who are following around Hun senior pitching star Steve Garrison this spring as he culminates his glittering high school career.

The half-dozen or so scouts on hand last Wednesday smiled among themselves and traded approving nods as the gifted lefthander mowed down Peddie, striking out 14 as the Raiders won 7-1.

Garrison's performance would have been even more impressive to the scouts if they had known the adjustments he made on the fly to find his rhythm against the Falcons.

"I didn't have my fastball today, it just didn't have the pop," said Garrison with beads of sweat rolling down his forehead on the near 80 degree day.

"So I had to go to my off-speed stuff a lot more. My catcher, Brian Scanlon, and I talked about it. We decided that I should try to throw a lot of first-pitch strikes to get ahead of the batters."

Garrison acknowledged that he eventually found his stride. "I felt like I had better command of my pitches out there as the game went on," said Garrison, whose sharp-breaking slow stuff was supplemented by a hissing fastball by the late innings. "I had to feel comfortable out there."

For Garrison, who has signed to play at the University of North Carolina, the presence of the scouts is a distraction he has learned to tune out.

"It's definitely nerve-wracking," said Garrison, who still plans to go to North Carolina but will weigh his options if he is selected in the major league draft this June.

"I try to ignore them. After I get out there for an inning or so, I feel pretty comfortable. I just go out and pitch, throw strikes and try to win. I just want to go out and do the best I can. It's just fun."

Garrison is having a lot of fun this spring so far with the cast of players around him. "The defense is wonderful this year," said Garrison, who has an 18-4 record in his Hun career.

"I can go to my off-speed pitches and let the other team hit ground balls and let our guys field them. We also have some great hitters. The younger kids have stepped up and worked a lot harder in the off-season. We want to hit, we want to score runs. It's a great feeling."

For Hun head coach Bill McQuade, it was certainly a great feeling to watch Garrison again display his mound artistry.

"It was a 'Stevie' game which is very consistent," said McQuade breaking into a broad grin. "He doesn't ever give up many runs. Stevie is Stevie. He just has composure, runners get on base and he bears down a little harder. I'm very confident whenever Stevie is on the mound."

McQuade is getting increasingly confident in his team's offensive potential. In the win over Peddie, Hun catcher Scanlon smacked a two-run homer and had two RBIs while Garrison knocked in two and Wellington Talkpa had an RBI.

"Hitting-wise, we're much further along than I thought we'd be," said McQuade, noting that his team had to do a lot of its preseason work in the gym due to the soggy spring.

"We've got some guys who can hit but it still comes down to hitting good pitching. I was happy when Scanlon tattooed that ball; Pavitt also gave one a great ride but their centerfielder made a nice catch on it. We hit the ball well, that's a slight surprise right now."

With Hun off to a 3-1 start after losing 10-4 last Saturday to powerful Steinert, McQuade is candid about his team's prospects.

"Do I think we can do something? Yes I do," declared McQuade, whose club last won the state Prep A title in 2002 when this year's seniors were freshmen.

"A lot of these kids have been playing for me since they were freshmen. I told them you better produce now; it's your last chance. They've played enough baseball against enough good competition to know what it takes."

In upcoming action, the Raiders host Hightstown on April 16 and Montclair Kimberley on April 18.

Garrison, for his part, is looking to end his Hun career with a fulfilling spring. "That's what every team shoots for, it would be awesome," said Garrison, referring to the Prep A title.

"We've wanted to win it again. We have four guys who have played on the varsity since freshman year and we want to keep working to win another one. We're all best friends and we want to play baseball. That's what we love to do."

Garrison's love for the craft of pitching has drawn the attention of the highest echelon of the baseball world.

Go to next story


Website Design by Kiyomi Camp