Keegan James helped lead his Desoto Central High School baseball team into the Mississippi Class 6A championship series against Oak Grove High School earlier this week. Although his team came up short 2-1 in the championship game, James was a big part of his team's success this season, winning 6 games while losing 2 and allowing just 2.04 earned runs per game coming into the championship series.
Current teammate and future Bulldog teammate Austin Riley, also a 2015 MSU commit, feels James definitely has what it takes to be successful on the next level.
"His fastball runs a lot," said Riley, who was Desoto Central's catcher up until this season when he converted over to third base. "He has a lot of movement on his fastball. His curveball is a 12-6, and he kind of deceives it a little bit, making it look kind of like his fastball, then it drops off the table. He can locate his changeup, which is a really good pitch. When he gets to Mississippi State I believe he'll be throwing in the low to mid-90s."
James who consistently throws his fastball 86-89, top 90, miles per hour, has confidence in his pitching ability.
"I feel like I can beat a lot of people with my fastball because it tails," said James. "I'm not afraid to go inside, and I'll throw a 2-0 curveball or changeup if needed. Coach calls it a stick pitch. If you need something to stick on a 2-0 or 3-0 count and they are expecting a fastball you give them something that they aren't expecting and you get it done."
James feels he will only get better once he gets to Mississippi State, thanks in large part to MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson, a man he greatly respects not only as a coach but as a person.
"(Coach Thompson) is exactly why I picked that college; that and growing up a fan of Mississippi State," said James. "Coach Thompson is a great guy and a great Christian guy. He was the number one pitching coach in America last year. That sealed the deal for me in a heartbeat."
He also likes the fact that the Bulldog pitching staff knows how to win, especially during postseason play.
"Their pitches grind it out in postseason and get it done," said James. "They find a way to win no matter what."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.