With two strikes and two outs, just one pitch separated Grant Burleson and Parkside High School from the Bayside Conference Championship title. Bearing down, he threw a fastball for strike three to seal the deal, and his teammates dog-piled to celebrate the school’s first conference title since 1996.
The left-handed pitcher from Salisbury, Md., needed just 12 fastballs to close out the game in what he called “the proudest moment of his career.”
The No. 4 player in Maryland according to Prep Baseball Report, Burleson signed his national letter of intent on November 9, confirming his commitment to the University of Maryland. He joins fellow Parkside southpaw Sean Fisher as part of the Terps’ 2017 recruiting class. Both will join sophomore right-hander Hunter Parsons as Parkside alumni on Maryland’s roster.
Burleson looks up to Los Angeles Dodgers’ left-hander Clayton Kershaw, and takes after him on the mound with swing-and-miss stuff. This past spring for Parkside, he struck out 31 batters in just 18 innings, effectively using a three-pitch mix of a fastball, curveball and change-up.
“He is really good at moving the ball around,” Parkside coach Brian Hollamon said. “He can backdoor you, he can put it under your hands.”
The left-hander will pitch for the Terps, but he is not too shabby a hitter himself, as he was tied for third on Parkside last year with 19 hits. But while he has earned high praise on the field, he has the respect of others off the field as well.
“He’s a great kid, [he] does well in school,” Hollamon said. “He works hard in anything he does.”
But despite his accomplishments so far, Burleson wants to improve further before he takes the mound for the Terps.
“I feel like I need to work on my changeup, just mixing up speeds and hitting my spots better,” he said.
While he looks forward to playing with Fisher and Parsons again with the Terps, it was not the deciding factor in signing with Maryland. He ultimately chose College Park because it is a ‘good distance from home,’ and his admiration for the coaching staff at Maryland.
“I want to get a degree at the University of Maryland, and also be successful in helping the baseball team,” Burleson said.