It’s getting pretty crowded behind the backstop at Wabash Valley College these days.
That’s where the pro scouts line up, many with radar guns in hand, to get a glimpse of sophomore pitcher Spencer Drake.
Friday, when the 6-foot-4 righthander from Louisville, Ky. took the mound against Kaskaskia for a key GRAC series opener, there were five speed guns trained on him.
Those guns were still displaying 90 mph on his fastball even in the eighth, Drake’s final inning of work as he improved to 6-0 on the hill.
By his own admission it was not his best outing of the season. But, Drake got what he wanted most for the first-place Warriors - a win.
“Compared to my other starts, this was a little tough,” Drake said. “The umpire was squeezing me a little bit, but we found a way to compete and came back to win.”
Wabash Valley coach Rob Fournier said Drake “is a joy to coach, a real free spirit.” On this day, when his ace “had good stuff but not great stuff” Fournier got a glimpse of the type of competitor he has in Drake.
“He had a really tough inning in the fourth (when Kaskaskia scored three times to tie the game, 3-3), but kept his composure,” Fournier said. “He has really turned the corner and is competing, and sold out for us today.”
Though Drake struck out 13 batters in the eventual 7-4 victory, he allowed a season-high four earned runs, sending his ERA over the one-run mark for the first time all season, to 1.06. He has 77 strikeouts in 59.2 innings of work, but has only walked five batters.
Drake, who transferred to Wabash Valley after spending his freshman season at Kentucky, has already committed to Cincinnati. But, will he ever see action with the Bearcats? That could depend on what the guys with the radar guns tell their superiors.
After not being drafted out of high school, Drake admits “it would be nice” if a major league organization would draft him this summer. “It would be nice to get into the system early, but if it doesn’t happen this year, then hopefully next year.”
Fournier, who has already turned out plenty of draft picks during his time at WVC, said he always counsels caution.
“All you can tell them is be the best you can be this year, and all those things will take care of themselves,” he said.
• On Monday, the Warriors won a wild game at St. Louis CC, 11-10.
WVC (27-9) carried a 11-2 into the eighth but the Archers stormed back with four runs in both the eighth and ninth inning.
Danny Heim started for the Warriors, striking out eight in seven innings of work.
Matt Geislinger came on in the eighth, but Fournier had to go to the bullpen one last time, with Erik Swanson in the ninth to put out the fire.
Heim (1-1 )got the win.