Getting hit with a baseball is all part of the game, particularly for pitchers. Yet for one pitcher in particular, being hit in the throat was both hazardous to his health and his much more promising future career.
That pitcher is "American Idol" Scotty McCreery, the Garner (N.C.) High senior who returned to the diamond for his senior season after stepping away in 2011 to take part in the national singing competition. On Thursday night, McCreery took the mound for his second varsity baseball start and was cruising along against East Wake (N.C.) High when a one-hopper bounced up and hit him directly in the throat during the third inning.
[Y! Music: Scotty McCreery videos]
According to the News & Observer, McCreery's athletic instincts kicked in -- he quickly retrieved the ground ball and threw out East Wake batter Austin Boyette -- but it didn't take long afterwards for the singing star to reach for his throat in genuine concern.
"He took a grounder to the chin, but is OK," Garner baseball coach Derik Goffena told the News & Observer's Tim Stevens. "Scared him more than anything."
McCreery showcased his toughness by staying in the game and pitching for three more innings, eventually departing with a 2-1 lead after 4 1/3 frames. He allowed seven hits, including a home run for the only run he gave up in the contest (you can actually see the home run itself below). The Associated Press later reported that a Universal Music Group spokeswoman, Beverly Keel, told the news organization that the pitcher wasn't injured in any meaningful way in the incident.
East Wake eventually rallied to steal a 3-2 win and deprive McCreery of a second varsity victory, but the country star's season statistics remain impressive. Through 13 1/3 innings pitched, McCreery has struck out 19 batters while allowing only a single walk. Through his combined relief and starting work, the singer has a strong 2.06 ERA.
Those stats may not make McCreery a surefire major leaguer, but they might be good enough to inspire a few local colleges to give him a shot at a scholarship if he didn't have other lucrative opportunities waiting for him after his high school graduation.
"He has been throwing very well and will continue to help our rotation," Goffena told the News & Observer.
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