Jackie Bradley Jr. had the pitcher right where he wanted him.
It was Bradley, after all, who once went an entire American Legion season without swinging until he had first taken two strikes. So, he didn’t panic facing a two-strike count with the University of South Carolina down to its final out in the 12th inning of a second-round College World Series game against Oklahoma in 2010.
The next pitch, a fastball, appeared to miss the inside corner of the plate, but given the situation, it was too close to lay off. Not for Bradley, who calmly kept the bat on his shoulder.
“It was season over,” former South Carolina coach Ray Tanner recalled by phone yesterday. “As soon as he took the pitch, I dropped my head.”
But who was the umpire to argue with Bradley’s eye? Ball three.
One pitch later, Bradley singled through the right side of the infield, driving home the tying run in an eventual 3-2 win.
“I asked him, ‘How’d you take that pitch?’ ” Tanner said. “He just looked at me and said, ‘It was inside.’ ”
And it was classic Bradley.
Future centers around Jackie Bradley Jr.
Boston Herald | Feb 19