EMERSON, Ga. - It was a great start to the day for Dallas Tigers Arias pitcher Charles King, who brought home a victory in Thursday morning’s playoff game against the Evoshield Canes North 16u team. He had seven solid innings of work where he struck out seven batters, walked two and gave up only one hit. Unfortunately, his goal of pitching a no-hitter was jinxed in the last inning.
“I almost had a no-hitter. I had a no-hitter through seven and then with one out broke it up because I was talking about it in the dugout,” explained King, “so I will never do that again.”
King has only pitched one other time this tournament, and again, gave up no runs in those two innings of work to finish the game. His coach said he has been suffering from some nerve pain in his arm; however, this did not show at all on Thursday.
“He had to fight through that pain a little bit, so his pain threshold went way up today and he fought through it,” explained head coach Steve Arias. “He put himself at peace and said, ‘ok I gotta go out there and do my thing,’ and sure enough, look what happened. He had a great day.”
“I am really composed on the mound,” said King, “I’m usually just calm, collected and I won’t get phased if anything happens.”
King has had practice with overcoming obstacles on the mound. When he was a kid, he had a scare that always haunts him. Fortunately, it never effects his performance.
“When I was in fifth grade, I was throwing and I got hit in the face and ended up breaking my jaw in a comebacker. I was really scared to get back on the mound for a long time, but I finally got over it and I improved a lot my fear of getting hit in the face,” said King.
The 6-foot-4, 185 pound right-hander is ranked No. 151 in Perfect Game’s class of 2016 national rankings. He is ranked the No. 17 pitcher in Texas.
“I’m from a small town and I’m just trying to make my dreams come true. I just keep grinding every day and to be ranked No. 17 is an honor. I’m happy to be up there,” said King.
King said his fastball is his strongest pitch, ranging from 88-90 mph, and that he can throw it “at any place, [on] any count, fast and hard.” He said his go-to pitch on a full count is a high fastball. He is working on the consistency of his slider, which he throws at 88mph, but his changeup is his strongest secondary pitch.
“[It] is a big drop from my fastball,” explained King. “It’s able to drop and I can run it in and cut it out and it’s a really good pitch for me.”
As of now, King has not committed to any colleges, but has been talking to TCU, Oklahoma State, Duke and a few other schools.
“I’ve got a lot of options. I’m still young, so I’m trying to see what fits me best,” explained King. “I’ll just keep playing and it will come to me when it’s ready.”
King is from Coppell, Texas and attends Coppell high school. He was given the opportunity to throw in game three in their first round of playoffs. In five innings he only gave up two runs. He said it was this past year during a high school scrimmage game when he first hit 90mph on his fastball.
“I had just gotten back from OSU and I was throwing for my high school team in a scrimmage game, and they brought me in to close,” explained King. “I was getting ready and I didn’t think I was going to hit 90 mph, I was thinking I would be in the mid 80s, and my first pitch just jumped out of my hand. My whole dugout was [excited] and when I came in they said, ‘dude you hit like 93 mph.’ It was a good moment. I was smiling from ear to ear.”
King has played for the Dallas Tigers for many years, and his coach has had the opportunity of watching him grow as a player.
“As one of the little guys, we knew he was going to be good when he was younger, he just has to hone in on his skills,” explained Arias. “He’s going to be somebody to look for in the future. Everything is starting to come together now for him.”
Not only does King play travel and high school ball, but after trying out for the 17u National Team development program in August, he will have the opportunity to face more competition with new teammates.
“In August I’ll travel up to North Carolina, all expenses paid, and I’ll play a whole week with the national team,” explained King. “They have scouts and coaches from all over that will help me get better. It’s a big honor to make that team and it’s a great deal and hopefully I’ll make the collegiate team at 18-years-old and I’ll be able to go around the world and play.”
On top of being a stud on the mound, Arias said King is “full of pizzazz,” and a great teammate to have even when he’s not playing.
“He’s the guy in the dugout that keeps everybody loose,” said Arias. “So when he’s not pitching, it’s good to have him in the dugout because he keeps everybody on their edge.”