VANDALIA - Submarine-style pitcher Santel Grant sinks opposing hitters with
Some pitchers boast intimidating glares, others possess
overpowering fastballs and sharp-breaking curveballs. Grant, a Vandalia Butler
senior, confounds batters with his down-under delivery. High school hitters
don't usually see a pitch that seems to be coming from a different
When Grant gets down, his knuckles descend and almost scrape the
mound dirt, but then they abruptly rise.
"My ball sinks and has a lot of
tail to it," said the 6-foot-3, 214-pound right-hander. "When I'm on, I get a
lot of groundballs. Movement and consistency are more important to me than
velocity. I'm not going to strike out too many hitters. I try to be a corner
artist, moving the ball in and out and working the batters."
surfaced as one of the cornerstones on the impressive Aviators staff. He owns a
5-0 record with a microscopic 0.72 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 29 innings. Joining
him in the rotation are Tom Hertlein (3-0, 0.88) and Curtis Hawse (4-0,
Together, the trio has helped fuel Butler - 14-1 after losing to
Troy, 7-5, on Wednesday - to the No. 2 spot in the state Division II baseball
poll. The team is on the verge of its fifth straight Greater Miami Valley
Conference title with a 6-1 record.
"We're solid in every phase of the
game - pitching, defense and hitting (team batting average of .373)," said
Grant, a defensive end in football. "My defense is making great plays behind me.
I can't survive without them."
Grant is definitely a vanishing breed on
and off the mound. Known variously as "the Aussie from Down Under" and the
"Cuban Nightmare" ("I'm half Spanish," he says) Grant has a loose arm and loose
personality. He regales teammates with his countless impersonations, including
"Santel gives batters fits because his ball is a different
look coming from underneath," said Aviators coach Trent Dues
. "He's very
unorthodox. What I like most about him is he wants the baseball and he can pitch
forever with that natural motion. There is no stress on the arm. After going
seven innings, he can come back and give me two the next day. He is a free
spirit. There is never a dull moment on the bus or the dugout with Santel
Grant adopted a sidearm delivery playing as a 10-year-old in the
F Minor League in Vandalia, and went to the underhanded technique as a
"I tried to switch him to overhand one day in the gym and the
ball went up high into the balcony," Dues said with a laugh. "So much for that
Grant's repertoire includes a split-finger ("a rising
slurve"), change-up, a fastball that ranges from 78 to 81 mph, and, ta-da, a
Wait until the hitters see that.
Ron Jackson at (513) 743-5308 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright, 2000, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.
Copyright, 2000, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights