Crespi High's Brian Felten had better get accustomed to being in the spotlight, considering he is expected to be among the region's top pitchers next season.
But he still can't figure out how he got there.
"You got me," Felten said. "When I throw it, they don't hit it. And when they do hit it, it's usually a ground ball. It's crazy. We're just winning games when I'm pitching."
Felten and the Celts hope the trend continues today when the 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior right-hander pitches in a Southern Section Division I quarterfinal at Fountain Valley.
Felten, who played third base as a sophomore and made only one pitching appearance, was not expected to contribute to the extent he has this season. But by earning a 1-0 victory in relief over Royal on Tuesday, Felten improved to 9-1 and lowered his earned-run average to 1.06 in 53 innings.
Felten hurled a two-hitter last week in a 1-0 opening-round victory over Moore League champion Lakewood to log his third complete game.
"When we started school [last fall] I wasn't thinking of him much as a pitcher," Crespi Coach Scott Muckey said. "We figured on him playing third base."
However, a funny thing happened to Felten on the way to the hot corner: He started throwing strikes during practice.
"He was the one guy that was hitting all the spots," Muckey said. "He kept doing it and we thought, 'Geez, this guy's doing pretty well.' He's just kept doing it and doing it. It's been a little bit of a surprise."
Especially for Felten, who admits feeling a bit ambushed by the sudden extra attention. Pressed for postgame remarks, Felten usually balks.
"I'm just not used to this," he said. "I've had my name [published] here and there, but now it's quotes and pictures and things. I just want to go out and do my best."
When he does, people usually take notice.