Thomas County Central Baseball: Lighting it Up

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Watching Tom Glavine pitch on television, it is easy to wonder whether he would have been drafted early in the Major League draft if he came along as a 22-year old today.

The reason behind this question, is the demand for velocity these days. It began with scouts, then became a staple at Major League games. Now there's a high school in South Georgia that has followed the velocity-tracking trend.

It's a blend of two constants: technology and baseball. Just over the 360 foot marker in the Thomas County Central High outfield is a scoreboard. The top left corner, reserved for the velocity of pitches.

"I think it's neat that they have it, and it gives the fans something else to look at. It gives the fans something to talk about," says Thomas University Head Baseball Coach Mike Lee.

"I think it's very fan-friendly, and at the same time, it gives us coaches a little cheat sheet whenever, sometimes in the past, you're thinking your guy may be running out of gas, but now you can actually have something to reference it to," comments TCCHS Head Baseball Coach Chad Parkerson.

The radar detector may be a victory for the fans, but it does have its drawbacks for the players on the diamond.

"When you try to throw hard, you forget some of your mechanics sometimes, and you're not as successful throwing strikes," claims Yellow Jackets Junior pitcher Gary Smith.

"You look in the dugout and you see all the kids in the dugout are looking to see how fast a pitch was and they're telling the guys as they come off the mound, I'm sure it can be a little distracting," adds Lee.

"We talked about that at the beginning of the year, and I told them if I keep seeing them peaking back there and looking, that I'll just cut it off," warns Parkerson.

So far the lights have stayed on. The fans seem amused and the athletes play hard. The Yellow Jackets have also learned some physics. The faster the pitches come in, the faster they can hit them out.

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