By Steve Huffman
Before he starts a game, Mooresville Post 66 pitcher Brandon Padgett goes through his warmup tosses, then steps off the rear of the mound.
Padgett removes his cap, lowers his head and holds a one-person meditation, praying silently to himself.
Only after he’s completed the ritual will Padgett return to the mound and throw his first pitch.
It’s a practice that Padgett, 19, a rising college sophomore, has been following since he was a junior in high school.
“None of us would be here if it weren’t for God,” Padgett said of the reason behind his actions. “Everything I do, I do for him.”
Padgett, the son of Todd Padgett and Michelle Shaver, is a graduate of North Iredell High School. He spent his freshman year of college at UNC-Wilmington where he was a member of the baseball team, though he was red-shirted.
Padgett is transferring to Lenoir-Rhyne this fall and will have four years of college eligibility remaining.
He was 3-3 for the Mooresville American Legion team this year. Mooresville was swept in three games by Rowan County in the first round of the American Legion Southern Division playoffs, the series ending Wednesday night.
But Padgett can’t be faulted for Mooresville’s lack of success. The right-hander pitched the first game of the series and limited Rowan to six hits despite losing 6-5.
“Padgett was unbelievable,” Rowan coach Jim Gantt said following the game. “That was the difference ó he kept ’em in the game. When he had to make good pitches, important pitches, he did. That’s the best-pitched game that’s been pitched against us, I think.”
Mooresville coach Josh Graham said he leads his team in prayer before every game, and said he admires Padgett for praying silently, as well.
“It shows he’s definitely proud of the way he was raised,” Graham said. “He was raised up right.”
Padgett is a soft-spoken sort who seems to blush more than glow when such praise is repeated to him.
He said he was raised in a Baptist church and has been a Christian about as long as he can remember.
Asked his best pitch and Padgett replies rather modestly, “My slider’s pretty good.”
He’s hoping he gets the opportunity to showcase it for Lenoir-Rhyne over the next few years.
And also have the opportunity for a bit of silent prayer before his first pitch.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or email@example.com.
By Steve Huffman