Photo: Steve Fiorindo

Enlow ready to shine on big stage

Blake Dowson

Published: Monday, August 01, 2016

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – It is decidedly hard to say any one of the 50 most elite high school baseball players in the country that are headed to San Diego in mid August to participate in the 14th annual Perfect Game All-American Classic have flown under the radar. They are the best to-be high school seniors in the country, and they were recognized as such to be named to either the East or West roster.

Many of the players that will call the first and third base dugouts of Petco Park home on August 14 have been on the national radar and under scout’s microscopes for a number of years now. But Blayne Enlow, who has seen his stock rise steadily in the past couple years, could make his case as one of the most under-the-radar athletes at the Classic this season.

It made no difference to Enlow what path got him to this point in his career, he said, as long as he’s here now. Putting his head down and going to work has made him one of the best players in the 2017 class, and he plans to continue that strategy until he’s told to stop.

“It’s been awesome [to get some recognition],” Enlow said in an interview with Perfect Game. “I really just want to keep working hard to get better and better, and I’m not going to stop doing that until someone eventually makes me. I just love going out there and playing, so I’m not going to stop working and getting better.”

It’s that attitude that has Enlow ranked as Perfect Game’s No. 30 prospect in the 2017 class, and the No. 10 righthanded pitcher.

It also has the Louisiana native committed to playing college baseball for his dream program, the LSU Tigers. Enlow knew immediately when he got on campus he wanted to don the purple and gold, and when the offer came from the coaching staff it was a no-brainer to commit his talents to Louisiana State.

That all changes now, with Enlow getting his time to shine on the mound for an inning at the PG All-American Classic. He knows the opportunity he has presented to him, and when speaking with him you get the idea he considers his upcoming time in San Diego as a sort of business trip. He knows exactly what he wants to do on the mound at Petco Park. He has his strategy running through his mind already, because he knows the nationally televised game on the MLB Network is the biggest stage he has ever played on.

“I’m not going to let any runners score,” Enlow said, before doubling down on his prediction. “I’ll only pitch for an inning, so maybe if I can strike out a couple guys too, that would be good. I don’t want to allow a single baserunner.”

Expect him to attack hitters with his curveball, too. It’s his favorite pitch to throw, because it gets a lot of guys out. Standing at 6-foot-4, his breaking ball is tough to barrel up coming down and out of the zone to guys in the batters box. He wants it down and out of the zone to get guys to chase, and that’s what he said he plans to do in San Diego. That is how the tall righty from Sorrento, Louisiana works.

“I can locate my fastball well, I can throw it for a strike and put it where I want,” Enlow said. “But that curveball in the dirt to get them swinging at it and missing is [my favorite pitch].”

His talented arm, and pitching repertoire to go with it, was on full display at the Tournament of Stars in late June, as he was the talk of the tournament. From Perfect Game’s coverage of the event:

Enlow was the revelation of the TOS on the mound, as he has had limited national scouting exposure. The 6-foot-4, 170-pound righthander was 90-93 with command and projection and throws what might be the best curveball in the 2017 class.

Enlow had not run his pitch count very high in front of national scouts before the Tournament of Stars, making it a very important event for him. He knew that going into it, and the weight of the situation was squarely on his shoulders when he jogged out to the mound for his appearance.

“I was really nervous the very first inning there,” Enlow said.

So as many people do when they are nervous, he relied on an old friend to help him out in a big spot.

“After I got the first guy out I calmed down and threw strikes. I stayed consistent for the most part and I had my curveball, which calmed me down,” he said. “When I have guys swinging and missing at my curveball, things usually go pretty well for me.”

It was a special moment for Enlow. He got to show some of the best players in the country that he belonged with them, and in fact he can be one of the best among them. With his selection into the PG All-American Classic, he will be back in that arena again, although it will be ramped up once more.

He said the selection is vindication for that no-nonsense, head-down work ethic he has employed during his rise to national prominence. The inning he will get in the spotlight on August 14 presents yet another opportunity to show how good his curveball is, but Enlow said he realizes how special the moment is no matter how he pitches.

“[Getting the selection] was really awesome,” he said. “I was obviously really excited when I got the call. I talked to my dad after I got the call and he almost started crying. So it was a really cool moment for us.”

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