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All-Area Baseball: Mooneyham simply amazing

ATWATER -- Brett Mooneyham knew he would attract plenty of attention this year.

Professional scouts drool when they hear about a 6-foot-5 left-hander who throws 92 mph.

Opposing hitters can't wait for a chance to take their hacks against a Stanford-bound pitcher.

Yet the Buhach Colony senior handled everything remarkably well.

Expectations?

Mooneyham delivered with a 9-2 record and a 0.97 ERA.

He also hit .379 with a team-high 5 home runs and 35 RBIs.

Pressure?

"He handled himself well," said BC coach Wayne Fitzgerald. "He's one of those kids who worked his butt off.

"He's blessed with God given ability and a great body. He didn't rest on that alone.

"At the same time -- if you didn't know him -- you would have no idea he was going to get drafted and be a No. 1 recruit to arguably one of the best colleges in the country.

"He's pretty well grounded."

Mooneyham's all-around performance was enough to edge a talented field and make him the Sun-Star Baseball Player of the Year.

"I knew the expectations would be there because of the way I performed last fall and last year, and the scholarship I received to Stanford," Mooneyham said. "I tried my best to put that aside and just did the best I could."

When Mooneyham was at his best, well, high school hitters didn't have a chance.

The imposing lefty struck out an astonishing 113 hitters in just 58 innings.

"When he's on, it's amazing," Fitzgerald said. "It really is, and we haven't seen anything yet.

"We've just seen glimpses, sparkles. I expect good things from him down the road and it's going to be fun to watch."

Mooneyham already had his scholarship to Stanford in his back pocket before he stepped on the mound this spring.

He verbally committed to the Pac-10 school in August and signed his letter of intent in November.

"It was one of the best phone calls I've ever gotten," Mooneyham said. "It was August 7, 2007. I had turned in my application a couple weeks before.

"I was set to meet with the (University of San Francisco) coach. Coach (Mark) Marquess called and said my application went through. I ended up cancelling the meeting with USF, but it was for a good reason."

While the commitment to Stanford may have played a part when it came time to draft Mooneyham, it didn't keep the scouts away during the season.

They flocked to see him pitch. They watched him warm up in the bullpen. They gathered around home plate with their radar guns pointed his way.

Mooneyham eventually didn't even notice them.

"The way I look at it, I've got to do my job, pitch well and help us win a game.

"They have to try to do their job, scout well and find talent."

Mooneyham was eventually drafted in the 15th round by the San Diego Padres.

Barring a hefty signing bonus, Mooneyham plans to honor his commitment to Stanford.

"My ultimate goal is to play professional baseball," he said. "Right now, I'm set on going to Stanford and I'm going to follow their run in the College World Series."

The biggest knock on Mooneyham is his lack of command. He averaged close to a walk an inning this year.

"It always comes down to the repetition in my delivery," he said.

"I'll get off balance. My weight will go the wrong way or my arm will be late."

On the days when everything is in sync, he knows hitters are at his mercy.

"When I'm in a groove, it feels great," Mooneyham said. "It's like playing 'Pin the Tail on the Donkey' without a blindfold. You can put every pitch in the right spot."

Mooneyham's bat was almost as important to BC as his arm. He hit three clutch home runs during Buhach Colony's playoff run.

Despite the fact that they fell short in the section championship series against Jesuit, it was a memorable season for Mooneyham and his teammates.

"We had a talented group," he said. "Everyone told us that. We knew we had a lot of talent. We wanted to make sure we stayed together. We had our ups and downs like everybody else.

"To finish second place in Division I in the section...that's not a bad year."

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