It appeared as though there were more scouts than fans at St. Paul's in Brooklandville yesterday as No. 1-ranked Mount St. Joseph opened its season with pitcher Gavin Floyd taking center stage in a 7-1 victory over the host Crusaders.
Floyd went five innings for the win and got a lot of offensive support. Returning All-Metro infielder Joe Sargent homered and doubled in collecting four RBIs, and the Gaels got two hits each from Ryan Doggett, Joe Peeler and Alex Rodgers, and three hits from sophomore catcher Brian Bent.
Practically every major-league club had at least one representative on hand to evaluate Floyd, who is a projected first-round draft pick in the June amateur draft.
More than 50 scouts armed with radar guns crammed behind the St. Paul's backstop that stands at the foot of a hill. So bent on clocking Floyd's pitches from behind the plate, at times the scouts barely had room to raise their arm and click the speed button on their guns without rubbing up against their colleagues.
It's a sight likely to be repeated this spring every time Floyd takes the mound, but one that the 6-foot-6, 210-pound right-hander is used to. During a summer league game in North Carolina, more than 200 scouts were in attendance to see Floyd pitch.
Floyd wasn't comfortable on the St. Paul's mound and admitted to first-game jitters, but not because of the scouts.
"I'm used to [them] and I know most of the scouts," said The Sun's returning Metro Player of the Year. "I try not to pay attention to them."
Floyd threw in the low 90s during his five-inning stint. He yielded one hit, struck out nine, walked three and hit a batter. Junior lefty Dave Centineo finished, giving up three hits but no runs.
"First time out, Gavin threw OK," said St. Joe coach Dave Norton. " ... For the first time out with all [the] hoopla, he didn't overthrow, and I'll give him a `B' for today."
Floyd allowed his only hit in the fourth inning, when sophomore David Beach singled to center, scoring catcher Brent Weiss.
The No. 6 Crusaders (4-6), coming off a nine-game trip through North Carolina and Virginia, couldn't muster any more off Floyd.