With a r0cket arm that’s been clocked at 93 mph from the outfield, St. John’s senior Brodie Leftridge signed his National Letter of Intent with Tennessee in November. Leftridge is considered one of the top 50 outfielders in the country, but he’s also a terror on the basepaths. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound speedster has run as fast as 6.54 in the 60-yard dash and has a team-high 23 runs, .916 OPS and 17 RBI. After pitching five innings and striking out seven batters Thursday in a 12-0 win over Bishop Ireton, the centerfielder for the second-ranked Cadets (16-5) talked with The Post about his early signing and St. John’s chase for a WCAC title.
Recruiting Insider: St. John’s is a perennial contender for a WCAC title but hasn’t brought one back to Northwest D.C. since 2011. What makes this team different than previous years?
Brodie Leftridge: The last few years we’ve been upset, but this group of guys has been playing together for a long time. Several of the seniors have been playing together for four years. We just feel closer with each other and we bond a lot more. Our last two teams we had to be perfect, but if you go back to 2011 when we won they weren’t afraid to make mistakes. We have the lineup to bounce back when we’re down.
RI: You had offers from Maryland, Wake Forest, University of North Carolina, and you were gaining interest from LSU, Texas, Virginia, UCLA and Florida. Why did you put ink to paper in the early signing period with Tennessee?
BL: Tennessee offered me the chance to play early, and a couple other schools couldn’t give me that chance. I wanted to go to a school with a large baseball culture. There are a lot of older longtime fans, and that school has a lot of tradition. Plus, I wanted to play in the Southeastern Conference to play big-time baseball every week. I’m actually going to enroll in summer school in July to get an early start.
RI: You’re a Howard County kid. Why not attend your neighborhood school instead of driving 40 minutes to St. John’s five times a week?
BL: I wanted to challenge myself more than I could at my neighborhood school, River Hill. Howard County does have talent with Cody Morris at Reservoir and Brady Acker at Atholton, but I felt I would be more challenged in the WCAC. I knew Coach [Mark] Gibbs would push me once I got here, and that helped my decision.
RI: Is there anything you wanted to work on this season and your last season of travel ball with Tidewater Orioles before moving to the next level?
BL: I wanted to gain weight and get stronger to fill out my frame. I have to play more disciplined at the plate and take the right pitch, I can’t hack on the next level I have to be more selective.
RI: You wear No. 24 is there a specific reason?
BL: My favorite player is Ken Griffey, Jr., and I like Willie Mays a lot as well. I think when I start filling out and grow a little bit my body will most resemble Adam Jones.