BRENHAM, TEX. -- This quiet town of 8,000 is a pleasant stop on the three-hour drive from Houston to Austin. It's deep in the heart of Texas wildflower country, not far from LaGrange, where Larry L. King found the inspiration for his book, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." It's also not far from College Station, and while there may be more pickup trucks with Texas A&M decals here, until recently this city's most famous athlete had been a heralded Texas Longhorn -- all-America fullback Roosevelt Leaks. Now Brenham is on the map for something else. "The Today Show" has been here. So has Sports Illustrated, dozens of minicams and major league scouts from Atlanta to Toronto. The reason is Jon Roland Peters, one of the most successful high school pitchers in history. How successful? Until last week, when he was the victim of a 3-0 playoff no-hitter, he hadn't lost since a 1985 Little League game. The defeat dropped him to 54-1 in four years at Brenham High School. He has a career 1.21 ERA and 612 strikeouts in 370 1/3 innings. His Brenham Cubs are 29-2 and, despite the latest loss, could be one week away from their fourth straight Class AAAA state championship. No high school pitcher ever has approached those numbers, and for Jon Peters the story is several layers deep. It's about a kid overcoming himself and later a career-threatening shoulder injury. It's also a story about the evolution of high school baseball in America. Not too long ago high school pitchers believed in two things: throwing hard and throwing harder. By the time he was 15, by the time his once sizzling fastball had gone the way of the 10-cent cup of coffee, Jon Peters had developed a different philosophy. He knew about making pitches. He knew he had to be able to throw his curveball for a strike if the count was 0-2 or 3-1. He knew he'd have to get by on control and smarts, and he has done that. For that reason his future as a pro is uncertain. When the scouts line up behind home plate at 1,200-seat Fireman's Park, they do not come to see guile and smarts or the ability to win and make pitches. They come to see potential and to try to predict how Jon Peters, 18, will perform when he's 23. Those are tough questions for a pitcher whose fastball has gone from 86 mph to about 80 mph since he hurt his shoulder two years ago. Never mind that his control is so good he could throw strikes to a squirrel. Never mind what others have seen. They weren't in Austin in 1986 when favored Snyder lined up on the first-base line to watch 14-year-old Jon Peters warm up before a state semifinal game. If Snyder's presence was supposed to be an act of intimidation, it didn't work. He drilled the leadoff hitter with a fastball to the wrist and went on to toss a 10-0 shutout. That may have been his most impressive performance until two weeks ago when he eliminated Bay City with a no-walk, 19-strikeout five-hitter. "He's the best high school pitcher in history," said Hardin-Simmons University Coach Lee Driggers, who got Peters started at Brenham High. "I don't think there's any question about that. Beyond that, who knows? You see a lot of guys win with 77-mph fastballs, and Jon has great, great control. So I don't think there's any question about his ability." Scouts who want most of all to see a good, live arm, may be disappointed, and the word from several organizations is that he will go no higher than the 10th round in Monday's draft, possibly not at all. Peters probably knows this. Partly for that reason and partly because his parents are teachers, he has signed a letter-of-intent to play for Texas A&M and says he hasn't given the draft two minutes thought. "I wouldn't think I'd go real high," he said, shrugging. "I don't throw that hard, and that's mainly what scouts look for." Val Peters, his dad, is more blunt. "I hope he doesn't even get drafted," he said. He pointed toward his wife, Ruth, and added, "We want him to go to college. If he gets an education, he'll always have that, no matter what happens in baseball." As for young Jon Peters, he has taken it all in stride. "He hasn't changed," his dad said, "and maybe that's what we're proudest of." He stands 6 feet 2, weighs 190 pounds, and has the lanky look of a good athlete. His conversation is peppered with "Yes sirs" and "No sirs," and the language is flavored with a modest Texas twang. He will graduate with an average of about 91. He gives Driggers much of the credit for teaching him to pitch. "He taught me the mental game," he said. Driggers, meanwhile, remembers moving to Brenham in 1984 and hearing about the chubby, flame-throwing Little-Leaguer whose last previous defeat was at the hands of Taiwan in the Little League world finals. Driggers took Peters under his wing, naming him high school team manager as an eighth-grader. He also outlined some goals, breaking them down into three areas -- physical, academic and baseball. "I just think he needed to have something to strive for," Driggers said. "He needed better grades. He needed to lose 25 or 30 pounds. He had a lot of baby fat he didn't need. I helped him with the goals, but it was Jon who accomplished them. You can't make a kid work as hard as he did. He started running three miles a day, then five miles a day. "He has earned everything he has gotten. You hear some jealous people say he has had things handed to him. That's laughable. I don't know anyone who has worked harder for what he has achieved." The payback was that Peters had seasons of 13-0 and 15-0 for Driggers and 14-0 and 11-1 for new coach Earl Hathaway. There would be other hurdles, especially in 1987, when he felt something tear in his shoulder during the Olympic Festival in Durham, N.C. That something was the anterior capsule, a small muscle in the rotator cuff area of the shoulder. Peters was examined by doctors from the Houston Astros, who recommended an arthroscopic procedure to clean out the area around the shoulder. He says he no longer has pain, but Driggers said: "I think he's still scuffling to get back to where he once was. Before the injury he'd gotten up to 85-86 mph. If it hadn't happened, you'd have had scouts lining up 10-deep to see him." After Monday's draft there's a July 28 date at The Astrodome, where he'll throw out the first pitch before an Astros-Giants game. Next fall the Aggies will fit him for a uniform and, after that, a future that still looks as bright and inspiring as the gorgeous sun that is setting gently on the Texas hill country this day. "I do want to pitch in the big leagues," he said. "That has been my dream, and I don't know if I can make it. But I know I'm going to try. I feel in my heart I can be successful, and I think there are a lot of others who believe in me too."