Who's the boss? For Gators, it's Moore

May 24, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

Sitting in the Perry Hall dugout during a recent game, a teammate sitting next to pitcher Jesse Moore joked, "Dial the last four digits of Jesse's telephone number and it spells BOSS."

That's exactly what the 6-foot-7, 220-pound Moore has been on the mound for the Gators, overpowering opponents en route to a 9-0 record entering today's state semifinals.

Though the right-hander went unbeaten in four starts during the regular season last year, taking only the loss in last year's regional finals -- his fifth start -- neither he nor coach Larry Butts anticipated the success he has had this season.

"I did a lot of jogging and lifting weights during the off-season, but I never expected to do as well as I have," said Moore.

"I've accepted the role. It gets me pumped up to know that people are trying to come out and beat me," Moore added. "My biggest goal is to remain undefeated. I'm pitching on Tuesday [today,] and I'm just hoping I can get us into the state championship."

Moore, 18, heads into his 10th start with a 0.42 ERA, getting 10 strikeouts in his most recent decision -- Friday's 12-2 victory over Mervo -- to raise his strikeout total to 60 in 48 innings.

"Jesse's surpassed my expectations and he's really become one of the team's leaders," said Butts, whose fourth-ranked Gators are 17-3.

"Whether he's pitching or not, he's cheering on the team. He wants to win bad, and he's just stepped in and done an outstanding job."

Moore, who began playing Loch Raven Clinic ball when he was 5, has been a member of club programs at Putty Hill, Perry Hall and the Parkville American Legion over the years.

Last summer, said Randallstown coach Dave Wright, Moore was clocked throwing his fastball 88 mph.

And most recently during a successful tryout Sunday for the Crown All-Stars' North Region team, Wright -- director of Team Maryland -- watched Moore throw consistently at 84 mph.

"I think I could have thrown better if I hadn't just pitched on Friday [against Mervo]," said Moore, whose arsenal includes fastballs and curve balls -- each of which he throws at varying speeds -- as well as a split-fingered change-up.

"I've mainly gone with the fastball, since no one's really been hitting it. But if I have to, I've got the other pitches."

Moore, a B-average honor roll student, says the added confidence has helped to remain focused while compiling victory after victory.

"When I was 1-0, then 2-0, I didn't really think much about it," said Moore. "But then I was 5-0 and 6-0, and I just wanted to keep on winning."

Then came his seventh win -- and his first no-hit victory -- by 15-0 over Woodlawn.

"I remember in the later innings, coach asked me if I wanted to come out," Moore recalled. "I told him that I wanted to go for it."

But Moore received what has been his biggest source of motivation when he was in eighth grade.

That's when his older brother, Jason, played right field as a member of the Gators' 21-0, 4A state champion squad in 1990 -- a team that ended the year ranked No. 1 in the area.

"That was pretty amazing to watch, and I've wanted to do that ever since," said Moore. "My brother's always at my games, encouraging me to do better. He made a name for himself at Perry Hall and I want to do the same thing."

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