All American Game : : Story
Allie’s blazing fastball headed to Aflac game
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Stetson Allie is 18 years old and can throw a baseball 100 mph. Only a handful of people on the planet can do that, no matter how old they are, and that covers nearly 7 billion folks.
“I’m pretty blessed,” he said.
Allie and his blazing fastball will be on display at the 2009 Aflac High School All-American Classic at PETCO Park in San Diego on Aug. 16. He was named to the 20-man East squad on Tuesday as a pitcher and infielder. "A great honor," he said.
If you can throw a baseball 100 mph and throw it over the plate, you’ll make a ton of money. Allie knows that, and he realizes his future in pro baseball could be on the mound. But truth be told, he’d rather hit a baseball than throw it.
“I’d rather hit a home run than pitch,” he told Perfect Game. “I love hitting home runs.”
He’s pretty good at both. In fact, he’s very good at both. Allie stars at St. Edward High School in Olmsted Falls, Ohio, and he’ll try to do both for the North Carolina Tar Heels if he enrolls there in the fall of 2010. That could be a big “if,” because pro scouts are fascinated by his 100 mph arm and could make him a high draft pick next June.
Allie hit 100 in a high school game this year, late in the season. Only a few people knew it at the time.
“I was going to my car after the game and an older gentleman stopped me,” said Dannie Allie, Stetson’s father and his coach at St. Edward. “He said he’d never seen anyone throw the ball 100 mph. I said, 'me neither.'”
Allie did it twice in that game, first hitting 100, then popping a 101. He didn't know it at the time. “I found out after the game,” he said. “A couple of scouts came up to me and told me.”
Allie is a 6-foot-4, 235-pound right-hander with a golden arm. He might have the best fastball of any senior-to-be in the country, but so far he’s used it sparingly. His father employs him as an infielder and closer, and didn’t let him throw a breaking ball until this past year. His arm is strong, and fresh.
Some day, he could become a full-time pitcher. Dannie Allie plans to put his son in the starting rotation next season, as well as using him in relief, and will continue playing him in the infield. Stetson loves being in the action.
“Right now, in high school ball, I want to play third base,” he said. As time goes by, he said he’ll do “whatever gets me to the next level,” whether that’s North Carolina or pro ball. “Right now, I’m just focusing on going to North Carolina,” he said. “I guess if the money is there I’d probably turn pro.”
Allie created a buzz in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome last month at the Perfect Game USA National Showcase. He consistently threw fastballs that sizzled at 96, 97 and 98 mph, but lacked control and threw more balls than strikes. In fairness, he’d pitched in a tournament game on Thursday before throwing in the Showcase on Saturday, so it’s not surprising that his control was a little off. If you saw him at the Showcase, however, you know he’s got a special arm.
“He threw better Thursday than he did on Saturday, but the velocity was still there,” his father said. “What I was impressed with most of the season, he can sustain the 96 and the 94 and get up to 98 a couple of times. He’s always been able to overpower people. There are less than 1 percent that throw it as hard as he throws it. He has a gift that God gave him, and not many people have it.”
Allie appears to have two personas on a baseball field. There’s Allie, the infielder and hitter. And there’s Allie, the power pitcher with a menacing heater. When he’s playing third base or hitting, he’s somewhat mellow and easy-going. And when he pitches? “When I pitch,” he said, “I get in a whole different mode.”
The smile and easy nature disappear, replaced by a scowl. That’s when the batter knows he’s in trouble.
Allie is spending the summer in Georgia, playing for the East Cobb baseball program, and he’ll be in San Diego for the Aflac High School All-American Game on Aug. 16. Then he’ll return to Ohio for his senior year in high school and prepare for the next step.
Allie said he first hit 90 on the radar gun as a high school freshman, then got into the low 90s as a sophomore and climbed from there. He reached the mid-90s and touched 98 last fall, then hit triple digits this past spring. “He never ceases to amaze,” said Dannie Allie. “There were games this year where he’d just pound the strike zone, and it would be three guys up and three guys down.”
But make no mistake, he’d rather hit than pitch, and he’d rather pitch the final inning of the game than the first. “I like being the closer,” he said. “When you come in, the game is on the line and you can put them away.”
It’s not hard to guess which pitcher he admires the most in the big leagues. Think of a relief pitcher with a frightening fastball and a scowl. "Probably Jonathan Papelbon,” he said. "He’s a pretty good closer.”
Actually, Allie knows quite a few major leaguers. His father coached Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon and White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski in high school ball in Florida, and Allie has visited Damon and his wife several times in New York. He also attends a lot of Cleveland Indians games, but is not a big Indians fan. “I love the Yankees,” he said. “My favorite player is Jeter.”
Actually, it’s not surprising that his favorite player is a shortstop. Allie has played shortstop, and his e-mail address has “shortstopkid” as a prominent part of the domain. He’s a little big for a shortstop now at 6-4 and 235, but his heart is still there.
Allie was born in Florida and grew up in Ohio, so you might wonder why he was named Stetson, which sounds more like a Texan than anyone else. His father said it was a natural choice.
“Stetson cologne and Stetson hat,” he said. “It beats the heck out of Mike and Jim, nothing against those guys. Stetson Allie: People go, ‘Wow, what a great baseball name.’”
“I like it,” Stetson agreed, “because nobody else has that name.”
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