Prep Commitment: East Rowan's Bost going to Catawba

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2012

By Mike London
GRANITE QUARRY — East Rowan graduate Alex Bost was a 4.2 GPA student and a math whiz.
“Numbers just click for me,” said Bost, who will pitch next spring for Catawba.
Bost’s numbers as a high school pitcher the past two seasons didn’t click. The numbers were numbing, an astonishing conglomeration of amazingly positive and wildly negative statistics.
Opposing hitters batted a helpless .138 against Bost as a senior, which means he should’ve been 9-0 with a 1.00 ERA. Instead, he was 4-5 with an ERA of 5.50. Oh, those bases on balls.
“There were times Alex was just brilliant,” East coach Brian Hightower said. “There were also times when he kinda drove me crazy. But that was the name of our season — inconsistency.”
In 652/3 innings the past two prep seasons, the 6-foot right-hander struck out an even 100 batters. The bad news was he walked 86. The strikeouts came in flurries, but the bases on balls did too. The count seemed to be full all night long when he was on the mound at Staton Field.
“It’s been a rocky road,” Bost said. “There were times I’d be pitching well and just lose it mentally a little bit. And then I had trouble with my elbow.”
In a 1-0 win against Carson, Bost struck out the side in an inning of relief. Against a good West Iredell team, he blew away 13 hitters in six innings. Against 4A North Davidson, he whiffed 10 in five innings. Those outings were by the “Good Alex.”
But he walked nine West Forsyth hitters in 52/3 innings and six in 41/3 innings against Mooresville. Against Nova, Fla., he issued a half-dozen free passes in 12/3 innings. That was the “Bad Alex.”
What every coach agrees on is that if command, control and consistency ever click for Bost, the way math does, he can be an asset for Catawba.
Bost’s consistent work in the classroom allowed Catawba to find a lot of academic scholarship money for him, and he’ll definitely be part of coach Jim Gantt’s potentially powerful baseball team.
“Last fall, I pitched in a game against Catawba’s developmental team for two innings and did fairly well and that helped me, ” Bost said. “I’d been talking to Coach Gantt since my junior year, and he told me they had a place for me on the team.”
Right now, Bost has found his place on Gantt’s Rowan County Legion team.
Because of a swollen elbow, he was unable to pitch at all when Rowan was forced to make its final roster cuts, but coaches realized he had a chance to impact games and kept him on the team.
“The elbow is getting back to 100 percent now,” Bost said. “It feels leaps and bounds better than it did at the end of the high school season. I took it slow, and things are meshing. Now the doctors and coaches are trying to keep me healthy with stretching and flexibility drills.”
Bost didn’t debut for weeks, but since mid-June he’s become the key guy in the bullpen. He not only throws hard, he has a curveball and a devastating slider to complement the fastball.
“His slider is nasty, and it’s hard,” Hightower said. “I’ve never coached a kid with a better breaking ball.”
In the game against Concord at Newman Park, Bost struck out seven in 31/3 innings for a save. He fanned five in two innings to win against Thomasville, and he pitched three shutout innings against Stanly. Then in Rowan’s playoff sweep of the Mooresville Legends, he saved the opener and won Game 2.
The potential is there for some really good things in the future, especially with daily instruction from Catawba’s staff.
“Alex is going to have to work hard,” Hightower said. “But the opportunity is there for him. He might turn out to be a great pitcher.”