Entering last summer, DeMatha junior pitcher Jack Alkire wanted to challenge himself by facing the nation’s best hitters. He had been dominantas he posted a 1.96 ERA in 50 innings as a major cog in the Stags rotation that helped win the 2013 WCAC championship, but he wanted to see how he stacked up nationally.
So Alkire spent his summer with the Evoshield Canes Central 16U team. While pitching with the Canes in August, Virginia Commonwealth began showing the 5-foot-10 right-hander interest. Then, the coaching staff had phone conversations with him once a week until his visit to the Richmond campus on Monday.
During Alkire’s visit, Rams Coach Shawn Stiffler offered him a scholarship. Alkire had toured the campus and taken a look at the Diamond, where VCU shares its home stadium with the San Francisco Giants’ Class AA affiliate, the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
“The coaches were all first-class, and I really liked that the baseball program’s playing field is a minor league stadium,” Alkire said. “When you think of Richmond, you may think gritty, but I fell in love with the campus.”
After talking with his parents when he returned to his Cheverly home, Alkire called Stiffler on Monday night and orally committed to VCU. He chose the Rams over an offer from Maryland-Baltimore County and interest from Navy and Maryland.
“I felt that I had a good comfort level with VCU, it was a perfect fit,” Alkire said. “The relationships with the other schools didn’t feel as good as this.
His fastball touched 86 mph in October at the Perfect Game WWBA Underclass World Championship, and he used it well this spring to finish with a 0.93 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings pitched.
He will compete with the 17U Evoshield Canes squad this summer and will work to sharpen his fastball, curveball and change-up. More specifically, he wants to develop his change-up to make it a more effective out pitch. Alkire throws a nasty forkball with a ton of movement, but he doesn’t have the same command with it that he does with the three aforementioned pitches, so he has cut back on its game use.
At 5 feet 10, he isn’t the prototypical pitcher’s size, and he is in the weight room at least five times a week working to get stronger for the next level. He also said he wants to add another championship ring to his collection next season after the Stags lost to 5-4 in the WCAC quarterfinals earlier this month.
“I don’t want to go out like we did this season,” Alkire said. “That loss is a motivator for everybody that returning.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 7,371
Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden amassed 7,731 passing yards during his tenure at Friendly which stood as the Maryland public school record when he graduated in 2007. The record was broken by 2009 All-Met Offensive Player of the Year Billy Cosh from Arundel in his senior season. On Tuesday, Haden became the second-highest paid cornerback in the National Football League.
–In his final high school golf tournament Georgetown Prep senior Brendan Peel was clutch late to shoot a 74, and help the Little Hoyas repeat as champions at the Washington Private School Championship at Chantilly National Golf and Country Club.
–Top-ranked St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes goalie Gussie Johns battled a fever to lift the Saints to their 19th straight ISL AA championship in a 12-6 victory over Georgetown Visitation.
–Eleanor Roosevelt sophomore southpaw Clark Reese struck out seven to push the Raiders to a 10-8 victory over rival Bowie. With the win, the Raiders earned a return trip to the Maryland 4A South region final.
–Whitman girls’ lacrosse resumed its tradition in a 15-7 win over Woottton to capture the 4A/3A West region title. The Vikings will meet Severna Park, which defeated Leonardtown, 15-5, in the state semifinals.
–Flint Hill clinched the outright Mid-Atlantic Conference championship with an 11-1 win over Saint James in six innings after going 14-0 in regular season conference play.
PHOTO OF THE DAY:
On a great day for golf, Good Counsel, Landon, Georgetown Prep and Paul VI teed off at the Washington Private Schools Championship where the Little Hoyas defeated the Bears, 383-394.