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San Clemente pitchers Cody Maples and Kolby Allard break down the mechanics of their favorite pitches
By Steve Breazeale
Every pitcher has his own unique throwing motion, grip and specialty pitch. From blistering four-seam fastballs to slow, breaking curveballs, there are a wide variety of pitches being thrown in different ways out on high school baseball diamonds this season. We set out to highlight two pitchers from the San Clemente baseball team, Cody Maples and Kolby Allard, to get their insight on their favorite pitches to throw and how they throw them.
(Senior, 6-foot, 180 pounds RHP)
Maples, the Tritons No. 1 starter, commands the strike zone with his fastball but a pitch he feels comfortable throwing in any count is his circle change-up, a pitch he recently added back into his repertoire.
He grips the pitch with his pinky finger out on the corner seam, with his ring and middle fingers covering two seams down the middle of the ball. His index finger and thumb come together in a circle on the inside seam to create the classic circle change grip.
“I like to throw it to lefthanders anytime in the count. I throw it to righties when I’m up 0-1 or 0-2,” Maples said. “It just mixes up their timing. Like if they’re sitting on a fastball I can just drop a change-up in when they’re not ready and they just whiff.”
By manipulating where he releases the ball, either off his pinky or across his body, Maples has the ability to make the ball break to the inside and outside parts of the plate.
The change-up is not something Maples had in his arsenal earlier this year, due to a dislocated pinky. But now that he’s healthy, he uses it often.
(Sophomore, 5-foot-10, 160 pounds LHP)
Allard has had a breakout sophomore season for the Tritons, compiling a 5-0 record to go along with a 1.19 ERA. He has racked up 28 strikeouts in 41.1 innings pitched and a lot of them have come by way of his curveball.
Allard holds the ball with a thumb along the bottom seam with his ring finger resting on the outer half. His index and middle fingers grip the top left seam, which sets up the hinge in his wrist.
“I try to get on top of the pitch and get down on it, get some 12 to six (break) action on it. I try to throw it with two strikes and get some K’s,” Allard said.
Allard is comfortable throwing the pitch early in counts for a strike as well as spinning it into the dirt when he is ahead to get the strikeout.