Cliff Lee’s preparation is known in the baseball community as arduous and thorough. Everything he does has a specific purpose, and each minute of the workout is maximized.
Andrew Summerville has four less All-Star Game appearances and hasn’t won a Cy Young Award, but the Lakeside senior is as close to a replica to the veteran left-handed pitcher as one will find.
“When we do Arizona fall baseball with these kids, I’ve never seen a kid come along with his focus and training,” said 19-year Lakeside head coach Dana Papasedero, who doubles as a longtime Mariners scout.
That means a routine for Summerville that focuses on his food intake and fitness regimen. It’s a large commitment for someone who is still attending high school, but it is already paying off. Summerville has committed to play for Stanford next season and will almost certainly be selected in Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft in June.
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That work ethic became a necessity, though, after an unforeseen speed bump arose a couple years ago. After announcing his arrival to the high-school level by being named to the all-league team as a freshman, Summerville had to be shut down as a sophomore. Doctors didn’t find any structural damage in his arm, and the injury was classified as arm fatigue.
Despite initial disappointment, Summerville, who isn’t used to taking time off, gained appreciation for his position.
“It was really tough, definitely; I didn’t know what exactly was wrong,” he said. “I think it allowed me to grow a lot as a pitcher and realize that often times doing more doesn’t produce more. Sometimes doing less more efficiently or effectively, or more knowledgeably, will produce better results. I think that’s something that every player has to learn as they go down the road.”
That mature perspective, along with his preparation and dedication, makes Summerville a coveted pitcher. It’s not just the intangibles, though; the left-hander’s repertoire of pitches is extremely rare for a senior in high school.
Summerville has the confidence to throw a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup with pinpoint command. It is the result of working with Seattle U pitching coach Dave Wainhouse since he was 10.
“I’m thankful that the work that I put in has allowed me to reach that point of commanding those pitches,” Summerville said. “I think that as a pitcher, it’s pretty difficult to become comfortable with pitches because unlike hitting … you can’t go to the batting cage and hit for two hours. You can’t throw for two hours, obviously.
“The time I do have practicing, you have to use each pitch as effectively as possible and to make mental notes about each pitch as you’re throwing your bullpen or doing your work on the side, and make the most out of it. Otherwise, it’s pretty difficult to improve as a pitcher if you’re not able to maximize that time.”
Summerville is hoping that his dedication to pitching will translate into a successful senior season for him and a Lakeside squad that hasn’t won more than nine games in the last five years. He feels he is at full strength after using last year to work back from his season off. It showed in his first start, as he only allowed two balls to be hit in fair territory in five innings against a top Arizona team.
But even as he regains his peak form, Summerville is keeping a mature outlook on things.
“It’s every little kid’s dream to get drafted and go play Major League Baseball, and it’s mine too, to also do that as well — play professional baseball at some level,” he said. “But what I want to do, no matter where I get drafted this June, if I do, is to go to school.”