The 2020 high school baseball season started great for Sulphur's Kade McBride.
With a 0.89 earned run average in 15 2/3 innings and 17 strikeouts, he quickly became one of Southwest Louisiana's rising juniors. The Tors were off to a 10-4 start, but the coronavirus halted the season after three weeks.
"It wasn't fun," McBride said of the abrupt end of the season. "We had a good season going. We had a chance to win state and we didn't get to finish."
Since then McBride has been striving to improve his skills instead of sitting around and wondering what coulda, woulda, should've been. Like many other high school players, McBride hit the travel-ball circuit nearly every weekend over the last couple months. He said he received an offer from Central Baptist College in Conway, Arkansas, and said he hopes to get more.
"I have been playing every weekend for the past month," McBride said. "I have been working on my velocity and just added a splitter a couple of months ago.
"I am hoping to get looked at and work on my pitching and get some at-bats. I am not really worried. I am just trying to do my thing."
Friday, at the Future Stars Series national tournament at McNeese State's Cowboy Diamond, McBride was charged with a tough-luck loss after allowing one unearned run in six innings of a 1-0 loss to the Dallas Patriots, who boast 11 Division I prospects.
McBride got into a bases-loaded jam in the first inning but pitched his way out of it by striking out the side. He continued to frustrate the Patriots with his curveball held them to two hits in six innings with six strikeouts and six walks.
"I watched him pitch today," Sulphur head coach Sam Moore said. "He is just a competitor on the mound. He commands three pitches pretty good and can throw those pitches in any count. I am just glad he is on our team.
"His curveball is his go-to pitch. He did have a few more walks than usual, but he was being real careful. … Other than that, he kept him off balance pretty well. His velocity is 80-82 (mph), and he has a lot of movement on it. He can bring the fastball up to the mid-80s."
Moore said he expects McBride to be the Tors' leader on the mound in 2021 and start at shortstop when not pitching.
"He was a guy that we knew that could pitch," Moore said. "He was just waiting to shine.
"We have been pitcher dominate. He is going to be our leader (next) year on the mound. He knows what he wants to do and can throw the curveball for a strike at any time. He is going to really do well on in our pitching staff."
Coupled with a 10-strikeout performance in a 5-2 win over Team Louisiana-Caswell playing for the CBA Sticks, Moore said more colleges are inquiring about McBride.
"He is uncommitted right now, but I am starting to get a few calls on him right now," Moore said. "I think his velocity is going to get there. I think his arm has 90 mph in it."