Young Hitter Shows Power At Tryout

Oak Mountain High School first baseman/catcher Kevin Patterson, during the southeast tryouts for the East Coast Professional Showcase games held at Mississippi State on June 14, showed why he is considered one of the top left-handed power-hitters in the nation.

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I had heard of Kevin prior to the tryout, but didn't really know that much about him, just that he was a big guy. Power-wise I knew nothing about him. Then, he began to hit during the tryout. And did he hit. Four of his 14 swings resulted in home runs, the most of any player at the tryout. And they weren't home runs that barely made it over the fence. They were monster shots. All four easily went over the right field fence at Dudy Noble Field. Two even bounced to the back fence, a fence that is probably about 380 feet from home plate. And what makes the homers even more impressive is that Kevin hit them with a wooden bat.

While Kevin obviously has natural power, he's also made the effort to reach his full power potential.

"I've worked harder, especially the past couple of years, in the weight room and hitting with a wooden bat. I've hit with a wooden bat for about a year," he said. "While I've played in a few wooden bat tournaments, whenever I'm in the (batting) cage doing my cage work I hit with a wood bat. That's where most of my power comes from."

And that hard work has paid off because he was one of 20 players at the tryout who made the southeast team that will play in the East Coast Professional Showcase. He's also currently participating in the Perfect Game National Showcase, an event that only the top players in the United States as well as some from Canada and Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are invited to.

He's also playing in the CABA World Series and several other Perfect Game events this summer. Due to those events, he's not going to be attending many college camps, but he does have one in mind.

"I'm going to Stanford's All-Star junior camp the last weekend in June. That's the only college camp that I am going to this summer," said Kevin. "Last summer I went to some camps - Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Alabama. They've seen me, so I'm going to wooden bat showcases this summer so that some pro scouts can take a look at me."

And not surprisedly, those schools, along with a few others, are showing heavy interest in him.

"Vanderbilt has showed a lot of interest in me and want to sign me, as well as Mississippi State and Alabama," said the 6-4.5, 220-pounder. "Their assistant coaches have come to me after their camps and while they haven't officially offered me (a scholarship) they told me when July 1st rolls around they will. Georgia has also said that. Those are the actual schools that have told me that they would like to offer me and try and sign me."

But those aren't the only ones serious about this young slugger.

"I've been receiving weekly letters from Georgia, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Alabama, Stanford, Mississippi State, Clemson and Tennessee," noted Kevin. "Showing the most interest in me I would probably say are Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, Stanford and Clemson. I'm probably receiving letters from, maybe, 11 to 12 different schools including those that I have already mentioned as well as Arkansas, Boston College, Arizona State and a few others."

As of now, he is most interested in six schools.

"I've kind of narrowed it down. This is in no particular order, but my top schools are Georgia, Stanford, Clemson, Vanderbilt, Alabama and Mississippi State," said Kevin. "I'm interested in different schools for different reasons - Vanderbilt and Stanford due to their academics. Mississippi State, obviously, has a great baseball program."

He explained what he likes about each of the six.

Georgia - "I'm originally from Georgia and lived there for about 3 or 4 years. I was born in Atlanta and had a couple members of my family that go to Georgia. So, I guess you can say it's my home state school. Plus, Georgia usually has a pretty good baseball program like most SEC schools."

Stanford - "I am going out there to visit, but I really don't know much about them. They are one of the most prestigious academic schools in the nation. And they usually have a pretty prestigious baseball program as well."

Clemson - "They have a great baseball reputation. It's one of the top ACC schools in athletics. I don't know much about them since I've never visited them, but they send me a lot of letters."

Vanderbilt - "It's a lot like Stanford, academically. It's up there with most other big academic schools in the nation. It's SEC baseball. And it's not far from home since it's in Nashville. I really like their (head) coach, Coach (Tim) Corbin. He's a really nice guy."

Alabama - " I was raised in Alabama. And my brother, David Patterson, goes there. He'll be a sophomore next year. He's in their marching band. And it's only about an hour away from home. It's a big-time SEC baseball school. Plus, it's Alabama football. Roll Tide. I'm a big-time football fan as it is, but if I had to choose between Alabama and Auburn, I would be a Bama fan even though my girlfriend is an Auburn fan (laugh)."

Mississippi State - "My head baseball coach, Coach Youngblood, knows (MSU) Coach (Tommy) Raffo. My coach really tells me good things about Mississippi State. And (MSU head) Coach (Ron) Polk, I love him. He's always been nice to me. He's a great baseball coach. I went to a team camp there with my high school team last summer. I hear they treat their baseball players like kings. And, like I said, it's a very reputable baseball school. It's SEC and it's not too, too far from home."

Since he's narrowed his list down and will have unofficially visited many of the school that he is considering, does he plan on committing early or will he take a few official visits?

"I honestly don't know yet. I would probably say that I will take my official visits and see all the options that I have," said Kevin.

Will his homestate school of Alabama win out for his signature or will one of the other outstanding out-of-state schools he is considering end up with it. Keep it right here on Scout.com to find out.


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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