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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quick turn-around for Peterson

Jeff Dahn        
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Right-hander Nolan Peterson looked incredibly sharp during his two morning pitching sessions Saturday (Feb. 12) at the Perfect Game Pitcher/Catcher Indoor Showcase at Perfect Game headquarters.

It’s not unusual for Peterson to be rock-on solid. His fastball has reached the low 90s (mph) in the past and was settling in at 87 and 88 Saturday morning.

“He challenges hitters on both sides of the plate and has a hard sweeping 10-4 slider to finish hitters off,” a PG blogger who observed his outing wrote. “He looks to get ahead with his fastball, often working underneath hitters’ hands to get ahead before putting them away with off-speed (pitches).”

It was an astute observation to be sure, but what made the outing “incredible” was its timing.

When Peterson first stepped on the mound in one of PG’s two main batting cages a little after 9 a.m., he had already been out of his own bed in Milwaukee for well more than five hours and had endured a four-hour road-trip. He said he grabbed some breakfast at a McDonalds and was at Perfect Game headquarters by 8:30 a.m.

“I’m awake now, so I’m good,” he said between his two morning pitching sessions.

After throwing for about 30 minutes, Peterson and his parents jumped right back into their car and headed back to Milwaukee with the idea of arriving in time for Nolan to play in a 3 p.m. church league basketball game.

That’s a pretty quick turn-around.

“It’s worth it,” Peterson said. “I’ve been doing this for awhile now, so I’m used to it. I’ve been to about five or six of these (Perfect Game events) now, and I’ve liked all of them.”

Perfect Game ranks Peterson as the No. 2 top prospect in the state of Wisconsin and No. 494 nationally. He has participated in seven PG events or leagues, including the 2010 WWBA World Tournament in Jupiter, Fla., the 2009 PG Underclass World in Fort Myers, Fla., and a pair of PG WWBA Kernels Foundation Championships at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids.

Peterson has signed to play collegiately at Jacksonville (Fla.) University, an NCAA Division I school that is a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Dolphins are coached by veteran skipper Terry Alexander with a big assist from associate head coach/recruiting coordinator/pitching coach Tim Montez.

Peterson said the Florida weather and the JU coaching staff is what sealed his decision.

“First off, location – it’s in Florida and I can’t really complain about that,” he said with a laugh. “And then, their coaching staff just took it over the top for me. They have one of the top pitching coaches in the country.”

In the last 20 years, Montez has coached, recruited or worked with 15 Major League pitchers, including Barry Zito, Cliff Lee and Matt Garza.

It was Montez who recruited Peterson to Jacksonville after seeing many of the same things the pro scouts and PG personnel saw Saturday.

“Nolan has a strong wiry frame with a loose arm, throws from a low three-quarter slot and has tremendous two-seam run,” Montez said after Peterson signed his letter-of-intent in early November. “He is a very good athlete who fields his position well, and really knows how to control the running game.”

Peterson was a member of the USSSA National Team that played in Japan last summer and has been a member of the Racine Hitters summer travel team the last three years.
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