After spending his first two years of high school at Seton Hall Prep, but never getting a chance to play varsity baseball there, Brandon Pilovsky wanted a change of pace – not necessarily one coming from his right arm.
“I wanted to come home,” Pilovsky said. “I had two brothers who went to St. Peter’s Prep, but I didn’t want to follow in their footsteps. I wanted to do my own thing.”
So instead of heading to Grand and Warren like his older brothers (one of whom Anthony graduated last year and is playing baseball at the University of Scranton), Brandon Pilovsky elected to transfer to McGinley Square and Hudson Catholic.
“I knew some of the players there and I liked the way they were treated by their coaches,” Pilovsky said.
Pilovsky got a chance to know many of the Hudson Catholic players from participating in the Major League Baseball RBI program over the summer.
“I knew most of the people, so I kind of just fit right in,” Pilovsky said.
Hudson Catholic head coach Alberto Vasquez was familiar with Pilovsky.
“I knew something about him from the RBI program,” Vasquez said. “When he said he wanted to be closer to home and came to us, it really helped us.”
But no one could have predicted how well Pilovsky has done with the Hawks.
“I’m a little shocked with how dominating he’s been,” Vasquez said. “He throws strikes and gets it done.”
That’s an understatement. In fact, Pilovsky’s start to the season with the Hawks is very similar to the sensational start that New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey has had.
“He keeps the ball low and has a great command of the strike zone,” Vasquez said. “He knows how to pitch. He has incredible control of all of his pitches.”
Pilovsky has pitched 29 innings this season for the Hawks. He has struck out 49 batters and allowed only nine hits and five walks. Those numbers are very similar to Harvey indeed.
Last Wednesday, Pilovsky spun off another gem, throwing a three-hit shutout against Dickinson, winning 7-0 for his fourth win of the season, striking out 12 in the process.
For his efforts, Pilovsky has been selected as The Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Week for the past week.
Pilovsky is also shocked with his performance.
“I’m a little surprised, because I never played varsity baseball before,” Pilovsky said. “In my mind, I think I knew I could do it. It came pretty natural to me. But the statistics are pretty amazing to me. I guess I’m lucky to have a good command of the strike zone and that enables me to get ground balls and easy fly balls.”
Pilovsky is the type of pitcher whose velocity improves with every pitch.
“I do feel that I throw harder as the game goes on,” Pilovsky said. “I’m also able to throw my curveball for strikes and that helps a lot.”
Pilovsky also has a workout ritual that has helped him get stronger.
“I run after every game and that helps to build my leg strength,” Pilovsky said. “I’m just trying to attack hitters and put the pressure on them instead of me. I feel that I am getting stronger as the season moves on.”
Vasquez likes Pilovsky’s composure on the mound.
“Nothing rattles him at all,” Vasquez said. “He’s in command. He’s constantly in the strike zone. When he gets the ball, I don’t have to worry about anything. When you have a kid like Brandon, it’s easy to move him right to the top of your pitching staff. He’s earned it and he came in wanting to earn it. He’s taking the ball and beating the top teams. He’s always calm and confident. He’s very intelligent. He’s just good to have around.”
Vasquez believes that Pilovsky has a chance to be a big-time college pitcher.
“He can definitely pitch on the next level,” Vasquez said. “He may even be a Big East-type pitcher. We still have another year to develop him.”
“When he says that about me, it means a lot,” Pilovsky said. “I still have time to mature and grow and get better overall, but when he’s saying that, it means a lot. He’s helped me a lot to become a better pitcher.”
And the best is yet to come with Pilovsky.
“It’s exciting,” Vasquez said. “He’s great to watch. He gives us a chance to win every game he pitches.”
“I’m glad I made the right decision to come to Hudson Catholic,” Pilovsky said.
It’s safe to say Hudson Catholic feels the same way. – Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.