Scotty McCreery’s ‘Competitive Fire Burns Deep’ on the Stage and on the Baseball Field
With his baby blue eyes, floppy ears and an arsenal of "yes, ma'ams" and "yes sirs," Scotty McCreery is the sort of boy parents hope their daughters marry. However, his baseball teammates at Garner High School in Garner, N.C. are familiar with another side of the 'American Idol' finalist's personality. They know he's looking to win this season, and that he won't be satisfied with anything less. Varsity baseball pitching coach Kurtis Pake sees McCreery's competitive edge, even from 2,500 miles away.
"He’s never gonna wish for anybody to go out there and have a bad performance," Pake tells Taste of Country. "That’s not Scotty. But that competitive fire, that’s in there. And it burns deep.”
McCreery would have come out of the bullpen this season for the Garner Trojans. Instead, the high school junior is finding ways to sharpen his skills on the Hollywood stage, while occasionally throwing the baseball around with the show's security detail. “He always worked his butt off, very coachable," Pake adds. "Kind of what you’re seeing on TV right now.”
McCreery's strongest pitch is the curveball, and Pake says that he worked with the now 17-year-old last summer on not tipping his pitches to opposing hitters. He proved he can handle the spotlight in a win against a rival team from Fuquay-Varina, N.C. In fact, McCreery wouldn't let go of the ball.
"[I] looked to him before the inning [and said], 'You good to go one more?'" Pake remembers. "It’s by far the longest he’s went in any game. He just kind of gives you that look: ‘Oh yeah, I’m finishing this thing.’ He went out there, I believe struck out two or three in that inning, ended up throwing a complete game victory. The way he came off the mound, the fire, the passion ... it was just vintage."
Pake couldn't find enough positive things to say about his pitcher, adding that McCreery is a great teammate and very easy to coach. He hopes that McCreery sticks to his strengths on the 'American Idol' stage, like he does on the pitcher's mound. “We know his strength is his curveball. We don’t make him throw a fastball. This week he’s going to be doing some Elton John, from what I hear ... not quite sure that’s his curveball,” he adds, laughing.