Prep baseball: Dylan May to Catawba

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 30, 2011

By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS — A history of health issues never discouraged talented Dylan May, and the recent A.L. Brown graduate has signed with the Catawba Indians.
May will definitely pitch for coach Jim Gantt’s baseball program. He’ll also get a chance to show what he can do with a bat and glove.
“It just happened a few weeks ago, but I’ve been talking to Coach Gantt for quite a while,” May said. “Catawba is where I’ve wanted to go all along. I already know about half the players.”
May played with several Catawba signees, including Carson shortstop Gunnar Hogan, in youth baseball.
Catawba doesn’t sign a lot of Wonders, but Gantt got an All-American career from catcher Ryan Query and pitcher John J. Tuttle was 6-2 for the Indians as a freshman this spring. Tuttle and May formed an imposing 1-2 mound punch at Brown for three seasons.
At 5-foot-9, the stocky May isn’t tall, but he’s got everything else you’d want in a ballplayer. A blazing (6.6-6.7) runner in the 60-yard dash, he covers ground in the outfield and steals bases. What makes him really special, though, is that he switch-hits and is a quality left-handed pitcher.
“He’s just an explosive athlete,” Gantt said. “He runs well and he hits with power.”
May made an impact with A.L. Brown’s varsity as a freshman, but an elbow injury limited his sophomore production.
Then torn ankle ligaments prevented him from completing a dominating junior season. He struck out two batters per inning while he was healthy and hurled a two-hitter in a shutout of Robinson. In a game at South Rowan, he fanned nine in five innings.
May’s senior year was interrupted by a sprained ankle, but he turned in phenomenal games before and after that setback.
Against Salisbury, he went 4-for-4 with two homers, and SHS coach Scott Maddox said one of the blasts May launched “may still be going.”
May made the all-star team in the Rowan vs. Cabarrus tournament held at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium late in the season, as the Wonders won twice. Then he belted a three-run homer to sink Concord on Brown’s Senior Night.
There aren’t many switch-hitters, and May accomplished the ultimate switch-hitting feat earlier this summer with the Kannapolis Legion team — homering from both sides of the plate in the same game.
“I’m a natural lefty, but when I picked up a bat for the first time as a kid I swung right-handed,” May said. “It’s just been in the last two years that I got confident enough to switch-hit all the time against any pitcher.”
Gantt has a plan in place for May. May embraces it.
He’ll pitch out of the bullpen for Catawba’s varsity as a freshman, but he’ll play outfield and swing the bat in games with Catawba’s DEVO team, which competes against community colleges and other D-II developmental squads.
“May’s first shot is going to be pitching,” Gantt said. “He’s a good lefty arm with a good curve and pretty good velocity. But he’ll also get his chance in the outfield to show us he’s the kind of athlete we believe he is. We’re pretty sure he can handle it defensively. We’ll have to see what happens, but he could be a two-way guy for us, and we’ve made a pretty good living off two-way guys.”
Catawba is coming off a 41-15 season that included another regional trip, another SAC title and Gantt’s 500th college victory. Catawba continues to experience success with a talent base that usually includes lots of local players.
May should fit right in. He’s already shown he can overcome injuries, and he’s a pretty complete baseball player.
He’s the No. 3 hitter for the Kannapolis Legion team, but he was asked to bunt in the first inning of Thursday’s game at Mooresville after the first two hitters reached base. He got the sacrifice down — and it led to a three-run inning.