Who: North vs. South All-Stars
When: Today, doubleheader, 3 p.m.; Sunday, wooden bat game, noon
Area North players: Will Coursen-Carr, South Side; Matt Kaplanis, Blackhawk Christian; Nick McCoy, Central Noble; Bayley Coleman, DeKalb; Kendall Whitman, Huntington North; Austin Plasterer, Homestead; Grant Wilson, Carroll
Area North coaches: Russ Degitz, Huntington North; Dave Olson, Angola
FORT WAYNE — With a commanding physical stature and a blistering fastball, Central Noble graduate Nick McCoy might be able to – gulp – get stronger and add velocity to his pitches.
The 6-foot-6, 210-pound McCoy struck out 108 batters last season with the help of a 92 mph fastball that helped him earn a spot on the North All-Stars in a three-game series. The games are today and Sunday against the South.
“I always wanted to get my jersey up on the wall in the school, so it means a lot to me,” McCoy said of making the North All-Star team. “I never thought I would ever be able to get to that spot where I get my jersey up there.”
His size and pitch speed also helped get him the opportunity to pitch at NCAA Division I Coastal Carolina where the sky’s the limit, according Central Noble coach Jim Sickafoose.
“The thing with Nick is he just has raw talent,” Sickafoose said. “The first thing you will always notice about Nick is his physical presence. Anytime you have a boy who throws a 90mile per hour fastball, there’s nothing to do as a coach to get that. That’s a god-given ability. I am optimistic of what he can do in college because of that raw talent combined with their ability to develop and strengthen that arm.”
McCoy (5-2) averaged 12.4 strikeouts per seven innings and had a 3.56 ERA. McCoy also struck out 30 batters in two games to help the Cougars (18-12) win the NECC tournament.
“When he turns one loose, you definitely know he let one go,” Sickafoose said. “He has a lot of experience pitching that will work well for him as moves on.”
The absence of wear and tear also has Sickafoose thinking there’s room for the right-hander to grow.
“We never had an arm problem with him, so that’s why I am very optimistic for him in the future because we never felt like he had any restrictions on his arm because it was always healthy,” Sickafoose said. “A lot of it was good genes, but also, I am a strong believer in rest. I ask pitchers to take three months off in the winter where they don’t throw and give that arm a chance to recover and recoup. We try hard through the season to give four days off between starts, and we stick to that pretty religiously, with the only exception being tournament play. We watch pitch count, but we watch rest more.”
McCoy said he expects to get stronger in college.
“My most improvement needs to come from my physical strength; get my legs stronger and get a better core and base underneath me,” he said. “That will help me throw harder and more accurate.”
McCoy started in the community leagues and moved onto the Summit City Sluggers in high school, eventually discovering he could throw in the upper 80s the summer after his freshman year.
“I started pitching, and I caught on pretty quickly,” he said. “Then I grew ahead of everybody else in my class, so I started throwing the ball harder.”
But it didn’t translated to high school – until his senior season.
“I really never did as well as I thought I could in high school,” he said. “I did real well in summer ball and got to school, and I don’t know what was wrong, I just couldn’t do as well. My senior year was a little better.”