To pitch or not to pitch? That was the question facing Brookville ace Jeff Maxwell Tuesday night when Brookville hosted Tunstall in the Group AA Baseball state quarterfinals.
You know Maxwell WANTED to pitch. What star player DOESN'T want the ball with a chance to lead your team into the state's final four. The Radford-bound southpaw was scheduled to start but then things got complicated, really complicated. Maxwell says Radford pitching coach Brian Anderson recommended that he NOT pitch in the game, that they agreed his arm had had a heavy workload in the days leading up to the game. Maxwell threw a complete game five days earlier and another 85 pitches three days before that. Still, Maxwell was prepared to pitch on four days rest but he learned just hours before the game that Anderson suggested Maxwell should rest his arm and ease the strain. Maxwell insists it was his final choice not to pitch, a decision he reached after talking with his father and other college coaches.
So instead of taking the mound, Maxwell played first base for Brookville and the Bees went on to lose to Tunstall, season over.
Now Maxwell, Bees players, coaches and fans are left to wonder WHAT IF Maxwell had pitched? Would Brookville be heading to Pulaski for Friday's state semifinals instead of Tunstall? We'll never know.
Take nothing away from Tunstall. The Trojans are having a great year, 22-and-2, and they may have roughed up Maxwell if he had taken the mound. Brookville folks will wonder just how strong was that "recommendation" for Maxwell not to pitch. If he HAD pitched and strained his arm, could that have affected Maxwell's scholarship with Radford? Could he have his scholarship taken away if he came to Radford as damaged goods? Could pitching that one game have jeopardized his college career?
You know Bees coaches and players wish their ace could have pitched in the team's biggest game of the year. Many are wondering why now, why did the "recommendation" have to come with Brookville trying to advance to the Final Four?
Now there are fans and others who will criticize Maxwell for being selfish, putting his needs ahead of the team.
As an outsider, I sure wish Jeff could have pitched without any interference and pressure from others. Let him do what he does best, and then win or lose, we wouldn't have all these questions and hard feelings of some lingering.
ABC 13 Sports Director