The major league scouts who surrounded Mountain Pointe’s baseball field on Tuesday should have come back Wednesday morning to truly see what Zach Cordova is about.
He was running along the warning track, doing sit ups in between and working to get better.
It’s not something that is going to show up on the radar gun.
It might top out at 86 mph or so on a good day, but what those flashing red numbers don’t tell those scouts who were in attendance for the Pride’s game against Hamilton is how much he works at his craft.
“I don’t have to worry one second what he is doing or how he goes about his business,” Mountain Pointe coach Brandon Buck said. “He is putting in the time and doing exactly what he needs to be prepared. It’s why he is so successful.”
While scouts were more likely keeping a close eye on the Pride’s Brantley Bell or Cole Tucker and Hamilton’s Cody Bellinger, what they should have noticed was how efficiently Cordova was sending the Husky batters back to the dugout.
Actually, it has been a season-long trend as Cordova improved to 5-0 through the 7-1 start to the Pride’s season.
He has won starts against Horizon, McClintock, Pinnacle and the Huskies while also getting a win as a reliever against Shadow Mountain.
The last two complete games — 10 strikeouts against McClintock in a 2-1 win and 6 1/3 innings of two-hit, no runs against Hamilton — have been the most impressive.
“I pitch better when it is a close game,” said Cordova, who won eight games last season. “If we are up big it isn’t as intense, but in the close games every pitch can make the difference.”
Cordova isn’t going unnoticed as he has an offer from Chandler-Gilbert Community College and was visiting Arizona Central on Wednesday while UNLV and Southern Nevada have shown interest as well.
“We will see what happens,” Cordova said. “If I keep throwing well, hopefully, I will have more options.”
Cordova has gained 10 pounds and got a little taller since last season and sits at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds.
It has given his fastball a little more life, but Cordova knows he is better off pitching to contact and using his breaking balls for strikeouts.
“I don’t throw 90 miles an hour, but I have good off speed pitches and good location on all my pitches,” he said. “It lets me be competitive. I know the ball is going to be put in play.
“The guys behind me are amazing. I can throw the ball confidently knowing they are going to make the plays behind me.”
With Cole and Bell up the middle and Michael Weaver at third the defense is going to do its job and they love having Cordova on the mound.
“When we know he is on the bump we know we are going to get some action because he is a groundball machine,” said Tucker, who made some tough plays against Hamilton at shortstop. “He is going to put us to work.”
Cordova might be the staff ace but the Pride has plenty of arms in Kyle Dominy, Jorge Carrazco and Jose Salas to give Buck plenty of options. The difference just might be Cordova’s confidence.
“He kind of surprised some guys last year,” Buck said. “He has command of all his pitches and when you do that you don’t have throw 90. Zach is pumping it pretty good right now and I love that fact that he is not afraid of going after anyone. He wants to see what he is made of and you can’t argue with the results.”
While Cordova and the Pride are off to a great start, the self-described crafty left-hander expects more of the same the rest of the way.
“Our goal is a state title and it is definitely attainable,” he said. “We have an amazing team this year and there are a lot of good things ahead of us. “I want to be on the mound in the state championship, taking the ball in the seventh inning and help us win it all.”
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