Ace pitcher named to All-Suburban Team
In the town that manufactures the most familiar brand of bat in baseball, Matt McCarty hopes to shut them all down.
The South Milwaukee graduate and first-team All State selection for the 2016 season moved to the University of Louisville campus at the end of June, ready to get the next chapter of his life under way. He posted a 1.25 ERA in 44 innings before he left, posting 63 strikeouts to just five walks with six complete games.
He can also wield a Louisville Slugger with the best of them, batting .367 with 29 RBIs in the middle of the Rockets’ lineup. But when he suits up for the Cardinals, he’ll be on the mound.
“He’s one of the best players ever to go through our program,” South Milwaukee coach John Galewski said.
His friends finished off a Woodland Conference Eastern Division championship, even without McCarty, who was a four-year starter and two-year captain in the program. He also played first base, hit in the middle of the lineup and also happened to be class valedictorian. For the second straight year, he’s a member of the Now Newspapers All-Suburban team.
“There’s not really much I could do about it; it was pretty tough,” McCarty said of leaving before the end of the summer season to begin summer coursework. “I was taking classes, and my friends were still out there playing baseball.”
He’s not the only elite-level player who had to leave early for college; All-Suburban Player of the Year Ty Weber of Menomonee Falls did the same at Illinois. Weber was able to drive back on occasion, but that opportunity wasn’t afforded to McCarty, six hours away from Milwaukee.
He anticipates it will pay off when the spring rolls around. McCarty hopes to be used right away with Louisville as a true freshman, perhaps out of the bullpen.
“They already have a really solid rotation and guys with experience and everything,” McCarty said. “The best spot now would be out of the bullpen. But you never know what’s going to happen in the fall.”
McCarty isn’t an outlier as a Wisconsinite in the Louisville program. Justin Lavey of Kenosha Tremper is also in the incoming class, while Waukesha West’s Jarred Kelenic and Oak Creek’s Alex Binelas have given verbal commitments. Jake Sparger of Eau Claire is on the current roster, and Brewers 2016 first-round draft pick Corey Ray, who hails from Chicago, also played club baseball in southern Wisconsin.
“One thing Louisville does, they don’t really recruit south of Louisville,” McCarty said. “Pretty much all their guys are from Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, the Midwest. (Assistant) Eric Snider has a really good connection with RJ Fergus, the head of Hitters Baseball (in Racine), so he knows the quality of player he’s getting.”
McCarty said he considered himself more of a fastball-curveball pitcher last year, but his breaking pitch of choice more accurately resembles a slider now. He mixes in a changeup and two-seamer.
“I think I have a pretty good mix of pitches I could use and throw for strikes and get some swings and misses,” McCarty said.
McCarty said he wasn’t interested in getting drafted out of high school and wanted to get an education.
“I could have gone to the showcases at big-league fields – I was invited to one for the Tigers and Reds – but I didn’t attend because even if I was picked, it would be in the 38th round or something like that; it wasn’t going to help me develop as a player as much as going (to Louisville) would.”