First time I saw and realized my dream, I was 3 years old. My dad taught me everything about the game of baseball and my passion for the game continued to grow as I got older.
When I was 9 years old I loved to catch and pitch with catching being something I especially enjoyed doing. The older I got, I realized left-handed catchers weren’t a thing. I continued pitching, learning my body, and the game while traveling to different states to play tournaments. Baseball became my life in the summers.
High school was the next step and throughout my years at Old Mill High School in Millersville MD, I learned how to adjust to the game. Now this had to come with a lot of struggles. I had good games and games I couldn’t make it out of the first inning. I knew I was young and had a lot to learn.
In January of 2011, I was excited for the season to start. Hitting in the cages at the Batt academy was a place I found myself every day after school. I’d hit buckets of baseballs in the cage with a couple of my buddies.
One night we had a bad sleet storm causing a lot of ice outside. Walking outside my house was the last thing I thought would have stopped me from starting my junior year season, but I broke my ankle slipping on black ice. I had to get two screws in it. The irony is that this was moment I needed baseball the most.
I couldn’t go and hit in the cages anymore and get the practice I needed, but instead, I realized how hard I would have to work to get back to playing again, so I started focusing on how to use my body starting from the ground up.
I was able to play a few games at the end of that year, and I realized that this whole process of getting back set a fire in me. A deeper desire to be better.
Senior year was one I couldn’t forget. I played outfield, first base and pitched. I could hit, but pitching was what I loved and I wanted to be the best at it.
Learning from Tony Saunders that off-season helped me gain more knowledge about pitching. I learned where to locate pitches better and how to work hitters with different pitches throughout at-bats. I didn’t have the fastest fastball at the time, only hitting 88 MPH, and for me that was hard. The hardest I’ve ever thrown to date.
There was one game we played Severna Park HS. At the time, I had no idea how this game would have affected me. I threw a no-hitter. 7 innings. 14 strikeouts. It wasn’t just me who threw that. The defense saved me multiple times with great plays. It takes the whole squad to do something that special.
“It takes the whole squad to do something that special.”
What I didn’t know was that Dean Albany, a scout for the Baltimore Orioles saw that no-hitter. Finishing my season strong I made the Brooks Robinson Senior All-Star team, which was a collection of the best seniors across the state of Maryland.
En route to Camden Yards to have a press conference for the All-Star game, I got a call from a friend.
He told me congrats!
I said thank you, thinking he’s talking about the all-star game… but it was because I got drafted by the Orioles! “Baltimore Orioles?!” My hometown team. Just minutes after my friend’s call, I got the call from the Orioles. They told me they took me in the 19th round. Pick 582.
My lifelong dream was coming true. Everything I worked for was all for that moment, I was overwhelmed. My shot at the big leagues, I knew this is what I wanted.