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PREP BASEBALL OPINION: Different Bruin pitchers share same goal (05/18)

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By Chuck Jones

 

By CHUCK JONES cjones@thenewsenterprise.com CECILIA — Central Hardin seniors Cody Alvey and Anthony Thorn couldn’t be more different from how they worked their way into stardom at Central Hardin to how they are off the field. Alvey and Thorn have taken different paths to earn a spot in Central Hardin’s pitching rotation. Alvey burst on the scene as a freshman and has been a fixture ever since. Meanwhile, success came later for Thorn as he didn’t earn his spot in the rotation until last season. On the mound, Alvey and Thorn don’t have much in common. Alvey is a Greg Maddux-type pitcher, using his finesse to get batters out. Thorn is more Nolan Ryan like, blowing fastballs by hitters and racking up strikeouts. Their personalities aren’t alike either. Thorn is more laid back. Central Hardin coach Todd Thompson described it as pulling teeth to get a word out of Thorn. Alvey, on the other hand, is always talking in the dugout. He tries to keep his teammates loose, quoting movies from Shrek to Slingblade. “I don’t want to say Cody’s crazy, but you never know what he’s going to say,” Thorn joked. “With me, what you see is what you get.” It’s their differences that make them unique, but it’s a common goal that makes them inseparable. Both are driven to succeed. And both have. You could call them co-aces. According to Thompson, it depends on who is starting that day who his ace is. Alvey, who has given a verbal commitment to Eastern Kentucky, is 7-2 with a 1.10 earned run average. He has struck out 52 in 51 innings. “The experience was really key as a freshman,” Alvey said. “That helped me mentally more than anything. I’ve just tried to get better every year.” Thorn was a late bloomer. While Alvey had earned his spot, Thorn kept working at his craft. He pushed himself in the offseason between his sophomore and junior seasons and it was evident as he became the No. 3 starter. This year, Thorn, who is going to Volunteer State, is 6-1 with a 2.30 ERA. He has registered 61 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings. “I worked hard, but it wasn’t that I threw that much more,” Thorn said. “The main thing was hitting the weight room more. That has added a lot of zip to my fastball. I watched Cody and I wanted to be where he was.” Thorn is there. He and Alvey form one of the best one-two pitching combinations in the 5th Region, which the Bruins won last season for the first time in the program’s history. If the Bruins are going to make a run for a second consecutive championship, it rests on Alvey and Thorn’s shoulders. Talk about pressure, but it’s nothing they haven’t faced before. They’ve had pressure on them from Day 1 this season as they tried to replace ace Joe Nash, who won two games in last year’s region tournament. “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves,” Thorn said. “We knew we were the main two guys. But we’ve have a lot of younger ones step up. Our job was to carry the younger ones.” Alvey and Thorn accomplished that goal. The Bruins sit at 23-7 and the 23 wins matches the school record. Now they’ve turned their attention to their next goal. Alvey and Thorn want nothing more than another shot at a region title, but first things first. The Bruins play John Hardin in Tuesday’s 17th District Tournament semifinals and it’s a safe bet either Alvey or Thorn will be on the mound. “We want to go as far as we can,” Alvey said. “We want to make it back to region. But we’re focused on the district tournament right now. We know we have to win that game first. That’s our first goal. If we do that, we’ll get closer to our other goals.” That’s something Alvey and Thorn can both agree on. Chuck Jones is the sports editor for The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at 505-1759 or at cjones@thenewsenterprise.com