Olvey Hoping to Earn Spot

<P>The Notre Dame baseball team has taken their recruiting national in the past few years and evidence of that is the signing of right-handed pitcher Derik Olvey. Olvey displays his dominance at Pelham high school in Pelham, AL. The 6-3, 215-pound Olvey is considered the top prospect in Alabama by Perfect Game/Baseball America. </P>

Derik Olvey is known for his fastball. "I throw around 91-92 and top out at 95," said Olvey of his fastball. "I also have a change-up and a curveball but my best pitch is my fastball."

Olvey has had an outstanding senior season throwing 69 innings with 96 strikeouts. He has only issued 9 walks and carries a 1.60 ERA. He has a 9-1 record and has allowed just 34 hits in 69 innings.

Olvey's junior season was just as impressive. He threw 68 innings allowing 38 hits, 17 walks, stuck out 116 batters and posted an 0.86 ERA while posting an 8-3 record.

Academics is another area Olvey excels. He is an outstanding student with a 4.2 GPA and scored a 27 on his ACT and is also a member of the National Honors Society.

Notre Dame pitching coach Brian O'Connor was excited to sign Olvey. "He was the number one prospect in Alabama and we signed him," said O'Connor of Olvey. "It was a coup because it came down to us Alabama. To pull a kid out of the deep south to Notre Dame was a really big thing for us and shows how far this program has come."

O'Connor thinks Olvey will be a starter and a dominating one at that. "I think Derik Olvey is one of those kids that I think can develop into a starter at Notre Dame and win you a championship. He's a strong, physical kid with a fastball that is anywhere from 89-94 miles per hour. He's got a good breaking ball and a good change-up. I think he's going to be that classic power pitcher. He's got a strong body so I think he's going to be able to pitch late in the game and hold his velocity. I think he's going to be a very, very good pitcher for us."

Olvey is excited about the opportunity to play for Notre Dame. "I made my official visit during the Stanford game; it doesn't get any better than that," said Olvey of the game experience. "I loved Notre Dame. Not many people down here get the chance to go to Notre Dame. I really liked the coaches there. That was one of the main reasons I chose Notre Dame. They were real honest with me and I liked the way they treated me. I'm excited that I get the chance to play for them."

Olvey chose Notre Dame over some of the top schools in baseball. "Alabama and Auburn were the other two I was considering. I had visits scheduled to Clemson and Vanderbilt but canceled them. Notre Dame just felt like the best place for me."

The Alabama native will be busy this summer as he plays summer baseball for the "Bama Bombers"—a team he played for last summer as well. The team is a traveling squad that plays schools all around the area and outside the state.

Olvey knows the Irish pitching staff is going to be pretty strong next year but he has set some goals for himself for his first year at Notre Dame. "I just want to earn a spot to pitch. I don't know if I will be a starter right away but just to be able to pitch will be my goal. I also want to pass all my classes."

Derik Olvey might not be a starter next year but certainly possesses the talent to be a dominating pitcher in the near future. Having one of the best pitching coaches in the country in O'Connor will only help his maturation. Expect some impressive pitching and wins from Olvey in the future.

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