Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

February 10, 2013

BASEBALL: Sooner pitchers on every scouts' radar

NORMAN — If there was any doubt Oklahoma is about to enter a different kind of season, it was removed two weeks ago.

A simple intra-squad scrimmage brought junior pitchers Dillon Overton and Jonathan Gray to the mound for one inning apiece.

The stands at L. Dale Mitchell Park were virtually empty. There were some parents and a few diehard fans there, but they were outnumbered by the people representing major league baseball. Some were scouts, the kind who write up their reports and ship them up the chain of command once a week.

However, some were the men those reports go to. A few more were even higher in the pecking order.

“It just goes with the territory of being first-round guys,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said Saturday.

Overton and Gray better get used to a season when every single time they toe the rubber, dozens of radar guns will rise and every pitch will be scrutinized. Their presence makes OU baseball must-see viewing for scouts, cross-checkers, assistant general managers and some general managers throughout Major League Baseball. They have the kind of arms that warrant millions of dollars in first-round signing bonuses.

They’re also the reason OU, which opens the season at 3 p.m. Friday at L. Dale Mitchell against Hofstra, enters the 2013 with high expectations — and pressure.

That’s fine with Overton. The junior left-hander is 14-7 over the last two seasons with a 2.83 ERA. He’s

won big games the last two seasons.

“It’s a little tough to know that so many people are watching you and so much is on the line,” he said. “I’ve been playing this game since I was a little kid and this is what I love to do. There’s pressure whether there are guns in the air or not. It doesn’t matter. I’m not gonna let all that get to me. I’m just gonna keep going out there and having fun playing the game that I love.”

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