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Two San Juan area hurlers break down how they throw their favorite pitches
By Steve Breazeale and Brian Park
Every pitcher has own unique throwing motion, grip and specialty pitch. From blistering four-seam fastballs to slow, breaking curveballs, there are a wide variety of pitches being thrown in different ways out on high school baseball diamonds this season. We set out to highlight two pitchers from the San Juan Capistrano area, Parker Joe Robinson of JSerra and Harrison White of St. Margaret’s, to get their insight on their favorite pitches to throw and how they throw them.
(Senior, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School)
Harrison White has an interesting backstory on how he learned to throw his curveball. While in Palm Springs, White crossed paths with Los Angeles Dodgers pitching great Don Sutton, who taught him the pitch.
White holds his curveball in the traditional style, with his thumb on the bottom, inner seam while his index and middle fingers rest on the top, outer seam. He envisions making a chopping motion while throwing the ball as opposed to snapping his wrist.
“You throw it kind of like a karate chop … that gets that over the top spin and break on it,” White said.
When White has his curve ball working, he can feel his hand getting out in front of the ball more when he releases it. This gives him the confidence to know that he can throw the ball for a strike in any count.
Parker Joe Robinson
(Junior, JSerra Catholic High School)
JSerra’s Parker Joe Robinson uses his big frame to throw a two-seam fastball that has been clocked between 88 and 92 mph. Robinson will not blow through lineups getting high strikeout rates and instead, pitches mainly to contact. One of his favorite pitches to throw is the two-seam, which tails in on right-handed hitters and away from lefties.
Robinson grips the ball with his index finger and middle finger on the horseshoe seam down the middle of the ball. He says that he likes to keep the ball more in his fingertips, which allows for more movement.
“I try focusing on getting downward movement so it’s almost a sinker,” Robinson said. “I throw it as a strike and I get a lot of ground balls from it. I’m mainly a ground ball pitcher so it helps.”
Robinson touched on how his arm angle throughout the pitching motion is key to the pitch’s movement. If his arm gets to flat during the delivery the pitch will have the same result. He tries to focus on keeping his arm straight up, which allows him to get on top of the pitch and hit the proper release point.