Tournaments | Story | 7/2/2018

Malone dazzles in O’s win

Nate Schweers        
Photo: Brennan Malone (Perfect Game)

EMERSON, Ga. – The On Deck O’s improved to 3-1 at the 17u WWBA National Championship on Monday with a thrilling 5-4 win over MWE 17u – Savage. The win keeps the O’s in contention in what has become a highly competitive Pool W.

The O’s were able to score three in the fifth inning and two in the sixth for their five runs on Monday. The O’s scratched and clawed their way to a third win of the tournament, receiving excellent starting pitching.

Brennan Malone got the ball on Monday for the O’s and was every bit as good as advertised. He tossed six strong innings in the victory, striking out 10 batters and allowing just two hits. Much to the liking of many scouts in attendance, Malone featured a mid-90s fastball that jumps out of his hand.

Malone, who is a native of Matthews, North Carolina, is currently ranked as the eighth-best player overall in the class of 2019, and the best player in the state of North Carolina. Malone has been playing with the On Deck O’s for five years now, and is proud to be part of the program.

“They've really helped me a lot, especially from a development standpoint,” said Malone. “We’ve got a guy there that does our strength and agility stuff, and he has been great. This has just been a great program to be with because it really is like a family there.”

The On Deck O’s are based out of the On Deck Academy in Pineville, North Carolina. The On Deck development program was founded in 1999, and has been fielding teams at the academy level since 2002. On Deck Academy is known as the premier organization in the Charlotte area, and it is no surprise they have success at prominent national tournaments.

Malone is not the only player on this O’s team that has experienced success in the program. Ethan Haislip (UNC-Charlotte), John Miralia (Duke) and Tyler Rigot (Bucknell) join Malone as the On Deck pitchers that have committed to playing at the Division I level, and that says a lot about what this program is about.

“Our biggest thing is that we first and foremost believe in development. The preparation piece is just as important as the exposure,” said coach Jason Hill, who is also very complimentary of Malone. “We are really proud of Brennan because he definitely sets the tone for us. He is a special talent athletically, there is no doubt about that, but he also is every bit of a fine young man. He does the little things everyone else is expected to do, and he is very humble.”

There is no denying that Malone is a special talent, and the University of North Carolina noticed that right away. Malone is committed to playing his college baseball for the Tar Heels, a program coming off of a College World Series appearance, and Malone is a member of their 14th-best recruiting class in the country.

“North Carolina was just something that clicked for me immediately,” said Malone. “I knew it was the one. I get along with their coaches really well, and of course it's a really good school and a great program. Thinking about all the people that have played on that field before me is pretty cool.”

Malone is considered by some to be the best prep pitcher available in the 2019 draft. While he has always been a great pitcher, Malone caught a lot of attention after an outstanding outing at the Perfect Game National Showcase.

Perfect Game National Scouting Coordinator Gregory Gerard had the privilege of watching Malone at the National Showcase, and noted his command of the zone as a huge strength. Malone threw two innings at the showcase, striking out three batters.

“It was such an awesome experience. The chance to out there with all the best guys in the nation is pretty cool,” said Malone. “You just want to compete and do your best. It’s a great experience to be out there with all the guys and meet new people.”

Malone has become a high-profile pitcher when he is on the field. While his laser focus and toughness are characteristics of his on-the-field personality, he says that he couldn't be more different around his teammates.

“I get along with just about anybody. Some people kind of see the rankings and stuff and may think I am different, but I am really an easy guy to get along with. I have that kind of attitude on the field, but as you get to know me I’m really easy-going.”

For those in attendance at an On Deck O’s game, this easy-going personality is equally easy to see. After finishing his outing on Monday, Malone was consistently the first player out of the dugout to congratulate teammates or grab a loose bat.

“I definitely take pride in being a good teammate and encouraging my team to do well in the game. I don't try to be negative because that only brings the team down, but as long as you’re positive you can keep the team going.”

Whether his name is called in next June’s draft or he ends up on the campus of North Carolina, this young man is bound to make a positive impact on anyone who crosses his path. Until then, find Brennan Malone throwing strikes and having a blast at a baseball field near you.

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