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Trevor Edwards missed a big chuck of his freshman season, but is shining for Craig County this year.
RAY COX | The Roanoke Times
Craig County pitcher Trevor Edwards has struck out 65 batters in 41 innings this season. In the past two high school seasons, Edwards has fanned 92 in 70 innings.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
NEW CASTLE — As conversations go, there are a couple Trevor Edwards had on back-to-back occasions last year he’d really rather have avoided.
Now that the Craig County High School sophomore has established himself as one of Timesland’s most promising young baseball pitchers, the mishap that interrupted his debut season last year seems a long way off. It was a big deal then, though.
Edwards was in the midst of an encouraging start to his varsity career when he had a severe turn in fortune that threatened to shelve him for a substantial part if not the remainder of the Rockets’ 2012 season. Having to call Craig County coach Brady Price with the news he was injured was bad enough. Worse was the first call Edwards made. That was to his father, Tim, who coached him right up to high school.
What’s the big deal about getting hurt? Isn’t that part of athletics? Sure is, but Edwards’ injury had nothing to do with athletics. While off for spring break, he had crashed his dirt bike on the family farm and broken his wrist. That was subsequently not a popular disclosure for either Price or Tim Edwards, particularly the latter.
“That didn’t go well at all,” the son said.
Price got word that Edwards was injured through a third party the first afternoon after the break when the pitcher missed practice. The coach found out the full extent of it the next day when Edwards showed up for school in a cast.
“I’d heard he’d ‘hurt’ his wrist,” Price said. “Then I find out he broke his wrist. I said, you have got to be kidding me.”
After missing nine games that covered just about the whole Pioneer District schedule, Edwards came back to start two more games on the mound plus make an appearance at shortstop.
Wisdom came from the whole experience.
“I’ve made it a point to stay off the bike during the season,” he said.
Good thing for the struggling Rockets. Edwards was on the mound for the team’s only win and has gone 1-3 with a 2.78 earned run average, which is pretty good. Here’s the attention grabber, though: the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder has struck out 65 and walked 12 in a mere 41 innings.
“He’s impressive,” said Eastern Montgomery coach Joe Shively, whose team beat Edwards 6-5 March 14 in Craig County’s second game. “He’s not overpowering — he doesn’t blow it by you — but he does have good command and he moves the ball around pretty good. Looks like they’ve really got something with him the next couple of years.”
It’s no surprise Edwards had the Mustangs coach’s attention after striking out 15 that day.
Edwards’ health has remained sound. Opposing batters have been decidedly unhealthy when he’s pitched. Opponents are hitting .217 against him. Notably for Craig County, he’s developing into an all-around player. On non-pitching days, he plays center field. His work with the bat has been picking up even though he’s only batting .216 with 11 hits.
“He’s getting there,” Price said. “He’s had games where he’s looked really good. His mechanics are great. It’s just timing for the most part that’s his problem right now.”
Edwards hit at the bottom of the lineup most of the year but has moved to the No. 5 hole of late.
Price saw it coming when Edwards started working out with varsity players when he was an 8th-grader and Craig County had no junior varsity. Edwards belonged with the big boys anyway.
“He was striking out our seniors,” Price said.
Edwards has some history on his side. Craig County’s program has never had a major impact on Timesland baseball but it has had some outstanding individual players, especially pitchers. Brandon Fisher, one of the few county athletes who have competed at the NCAA Division I level, recently wrapped up a Virginia Tech baseball career. Longer ago, Cooter Hypes excelled athletically on a number of fronts and was acclaimed as a pitcher and all-around baseball player.
Geography along with history factor into Edwards’ story. He’s from the Sinking Creek area of the county, which for a rural area has produced its share of notable ballplayers. Just up the road on the Giles County side of the line is where retired Major League pitcher Mike Williams was born and raised. Nearby Chris Hutchison of Giles grew up. He went on to hold a share of the VHSL single season home run record with 18 and play for the Hokies. A little deeper into Giles but still close was the family home of the late Bob Porterfield, another former big league pitcher.
Where Edwards’ career goes from here will be interesting to watch.
“He throws strikes,” said Radford coach Darden Freemen, whose team beat him earlier this year. “You notice that in single-A baseball. He knows how to throw strike one. That’s the most important pitch in baseball.”
Edwards still has plenty of work to do and a long way to go.
That seems like as good a motivation as any to leave the bike in the barn for the time being.
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