Blount Press Row

Curl Twirls a Gem

Colleges, pros showing interest in Maryville lefty

IMG_0746Rebel junior Alex Curl delivers to the plate on Monday. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Editor
Blount Press Row

The guy with the radar gun left too early.

Heritage's Hunter Gilliland takes a hard cut on Monday.

Heritage’s Hunter Gilliland takes a hard cut on Monday.

Alex Curl was really pumping them in there by the fifth inning.

Heritage broke up a no-hit bid from the Maryville junior left-hander an inning later, but it did little to dampen an impressive showing for the fast-rising prospect in a 5-2 win for the Rebels on Monday at Maryville College’s Scotland Yard.

Curl fanned 11 and surrendered two singles and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. Cole Carruthers relieved with one out and one on for the save.

“I just try to go out there mentally prepared,” Curl said, “and the team around me has done really well.”

Drake Martin all but literally collected the save with a running, diving catch in centerfield with two out and two on in the Heritage seventh.

Curl, who reached 87 mph on the radar gun in the third inning, with a high of 91 on the season, has drawn increasing interest from college and professional scouts of late. The Chicago Cubs, with local affiliate the Tennessee Smokies nearby, are said to be particularly interested.

The Cubs drafted and signed hard-throwing right-hander Trevor Clifton out of Heritage last June.

The growing consensus among coaches and scouts, said one source, is Curl’s “velocity has improved a lot the last two years. He’s throwing each of the three pitches he throws in the strike zone, and he can hit the corners.

“His demeanor on the mound lets him control a baseball game. He’s a very coachable young man and has a possible future in college baseball and, possibly, beyond.”

Junior Dylan Shinsky was 3-for-4 at the plate for the Rebels.

Junior Dylan Shinsky was 3-for-4 at the plate for the Rebels.

Rebel catcher Dylan Shinsky singled to lead off the Maryville first Tuesday, freshman Evan Porter singling home the run for a 1-0 lead after an inning. Martin singled and scored in the Rebel second, with Shinsky singling for the RBI and a 2-0 advantage.

Excepting the Heritage third, where a pair of errors helped push a run home, Maryville coach Jim Gaylor came away pleased with the Rebels (6-3, 2-1 4AAA) defensively, no small thing with first baseman and Cleveland State signee Drew Curtis the only returning starter.

Drew Curtis takes a lead at first.

Drew Curtis takes a lead at first.

“I thought we played pretty well,” Gaylor said. “Other than that one inning, I thought we played great defensively. Plus, it helps when you strike out 11; there are only 10 more outs to get. We’re a long way from being ready to compete for a championship or anything.”

Riley Hill walked and scored to halve the Rebel lead in the Mountaineer third. A strong game defensively by third baseman Garrett Neubert helped keep Heritage (8-3, 2-2) within striking distance throughout.

“We’ve just got swing (the bat),” Heritage coach Robbie Bennett said. “They out hit us and they made some plays. We’ve just got to do a better job at the approach (to the at bat).”

Maryville tacked on a run in the third and two more in the fifth for insurance. Devin Gardner broke up the no-hitter with a single back to the mound to lead off the Heritage sixth.

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