Cole could hit 100 mph at Aflac game

Showcase : : Story
Jim Ecker        
Published: Saturday, July 18, 2009

A.J. Cole gave up a home run on a 95 mph fastball at the WWBA 17U National Championships in Marietta, Ga., last week, so he rared back and put something "extra" on his fastballs after that. The radar gun flashed "97" and "98" on pitch after pitch, with Cole determined to keep all the rest of the balls in the park.

True story? "Yeah, that's accurate," he told Perfect Game.

"He hit a good pitch," said Cole. "It was between his knee and his thigh. He just stuck his bat out, I guess. I missed my spot a little."

Cole, a tall, lanky 6-foot-5 righthander from Winter Springs, Fla., had hit 97 in a game before, but had never thrown a pitch at 98 in his life. Now he's thrown several.

"It surprises me, that I can actually do it," he said. "I just started trying to throw a little harder."

Cole will take his talented whip to the Aflac All-American High School Classic at PETCO Park in San Diego on Aug. 16, a member of the talented East squad. Maybe he'll have reached 100 mph by then, or maybe he'll hit 100 in San Diego.

"I'm trying," he said. "I'm trying for it. It's been a dream of mine since I started pitching."

Cole pitched for the Orlando Scorpions Black team at the WWBA tournament. He was extremely impressive, aside from that home run, with a smooth, easy delivery, explosive fastball and nasty breaking balls. A lot of batters swung and missed at his heater, then got fooled on breaking balls and had a series of check-swings for strikes.

Cole credits Brad Stilwell, his personal pitching coach, for his development on the mound. Stilwell worked with Cole on an AAU team in Florida, and then Cole's family hired him as a personal tutor.

"He was all 'arm' in the beginning. I give Brad all the credit," said Kathy Cole, A.J.'s mother.

Stilwell told Cole to imagine a cow kicking a bucket when he pitched. It may sound silly, but it worked.

"That's what he said," Kathy Cole related. "Like a cow kicking a bucket. I said, he's not a farm boy. I'm not sure he understands."

Actually, Cole did understand. Stilwell told him to start his motion, lift his left leg and picture himself holding onto a pole, straight up and all even. "Then," said Cole, "when you start to go, you push off and you kick the bucket. I don't know, it just all made sense to me, real quick. He found a way to make me understand.

"He played a major role," said Cole, "because he taught me all the mechanics and how to actually use my lower half to throw."

Cole began to take baseball seriously when he was about 12 years old, according to his parents, and played on a 12-and-under team called The Bomb Squad that compiled a gaudy record of 89-5-2. When he was 15, he played on the USA Baseball 16U team that went to Venezuela for a tournament and won the gold medal. He's committed to play college baseball at the University of Miami (Fla.), but that could depend on what happens in the 2010 draft.

Right now, he's playing summer ball and looking forward to the Aflac game in San Diego.

"It's an honor to play over there," he said. "I know it's a really big event, because one of my friends went last year."
Recent Related Articles
Top performers: Catcher velocity
PG All-American M.J. Melendez had one of the strongest throws from behind the plate at a PG showcase event with a 86 mph thro... READ 
Cohens comfy during PG debut
Top-350 Wichita 2019 MIF/OF and Wichita State commit Isaiah Cohens found he could fit right in during his PG debut at last we... READ 
Top performers: First base velocity
The 95 mph throw from first base by Bobby Miller at the PG National Showcase not only was the best in 2016, but it also marke... READ 
Most Viewed Related Articles
PG Trophy Room unveiled
Perfect Game is excited to unveil the new Trophy Room to every player’s profile as achievements will now be recognized with a... READ 
Winget wows at West Uncommitted
Top-500 Utah 2017 OF/INF Trey Winget enjoyed a terrific workout session Saturday morning at the PG West Uncommitted Showcase ... READ 
Cohens comfy during PG debut
Top-350 Wichita 2019 MIF/OF and Wichita State commit Isaiah Cohens found he could fit right in during his PG debut at last we... READ 
 



Keywords in this article
       Player Profile Page    Event Page
About Perfect Game :: Contact us :: Site Map
Copyright 1994-2016 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.