The way Wando baseball coach Dirk Thomas talks, Jake McBreairty is Clark Kent in person and Superman on the mound.
“He’s a hard worker, a good student, He’s mild-mannered,” Thomas said. “When he’s out there on the mound, he becomes a different person.”
McBreairty is the ace of a pitching staff that Thomas rates as one of the best in the state. McBreairty is 5-0 with a 1.42 ERA for the Warriors, who won Region 7-AAAA. He has allowed only 36 hits in 441/3 innings and has struck out 67.
“I’ve known Jake since he was little,” Thomas said. “To see where he is now compared to when he was 7 or 8 is pretty amazing. He knows how to pitch. He knows when and where to throw a pitch. He’s an intelligent pitcher.”
McBreairty’s fastball tops out in the upper 80s, and his changeup is effective.
“I thank God I was born left-handed,” McBreairty said. “It gives you a huge advantage.”
Being left-handed also makes him a natural at first base. He’s a tall target and does a good job of scooping the ball out of the dirt. He’s made one error in 58 chances, which translates into a .958 field percentage.
He’s been around the .300 range as a hitter and is tied for third on the team with 18 hits. He leads the team with three triples and is among the team leaders with 12 RBIs.
“He’s solid defensively and he’s been one of our hottest hitters at times,” Thomas said. “There are times when he struggles at the plate. But sometimes we might be guilty of putting too big of a load on his shoulders. Asking him to hit .400 and pitch, that’s a lot of expectation.”
McBreairty and his teammates have surprised many baseball followers with their outstanding play. The team hopes to make a deep run in the playoffs. Then it’s time for graduation.
McBreairty will play for Spartanburg Methodist, a two-year college that has produced many stars, including Orlando Hudson, Lee Gronkiewicz, Mookie Wilson and Reggie Sanders.
“It’s a great fit for him,” Thomas said. “Schools are always looking for left-handed pitchers. A lot of schools used up all their (scholarship) money, so they couldn’t offer. But he’ll get noticed up there. He’ll be at a quality four-year school in a year or two.”
Follow Phil Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil.