It’s rare you find an SEC-level pitching recruit that doesn’t start routinely for his high school team.
However, that doesn’t mean that Spartanburg lefty Hamilton Heatly, a junior who is committed to South Carolina, is any less talented or that his role is any less important, Vikings coach Tom Myers said.
“We use him in relief as a left-on-left matchup, especially now that we’re about to get into the playoffs,” the coach said.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder is a two-way player for Spartanburg. Beyond his contributions on the mound, he is a regular starter in left field and is hitting .460 this season. Heatly might not be the most glamorous member of USC’s Class of 2012 commitment list, but he’s a baseball junkie intent on improving every day.
Never miss a local story.
“He’s a hard-working kid with a great makeup,” Myers said. “He’s going to be a pretty good player, but he works at it. He’s not an overpowering kid, but he’s the first one at practice and last one to leave every day.”
On the mound, Heatly throws a fastball, a changeup and a hybrid curveball/slider that is thrown at the speed of a breaking pitch but has the movement of a slider. The changeup is his best pitch, Myers said.
His fastball typically clocks in around the mid-80s. Myers believes that he’ll gain velocity in the coming years, but he doubts that Heatly will ever become an overpowering pitcher.
Heatly has been an even better performer in the field than on the mound this season, providing solid defense and a good bat in the Spartanburg lineup.
“He’s got some pop in his bat,” Myers said. “There is no doubt about that. He can swing the bat pretty doggone well. When he was younger we just had to get him to quit hitting the ball in the air. He’s done that now. He’s got some serious juice in his barrel.
“I think he’s a pitcher. If you’re going to crack the lineup in the SEC, you better swing the snot out of it. Can he do that? That’s a possibility, but I think his future is on the mound.”