Mac McCarty’s location is off. He’s reminded of the first time he tried this submarine delivery; only this one fortunately for him wasn’t hit for a home run.
Maybe, like so many times before, there are college coaches watching, waiting to tell him after the game that he will never be an NCAA Division I baseball player. Not with that down-under throw.
But the senior at South Kitsap High School walks off the mound, takes off his cap, and reads the words he wrote on the inside: “misfit livin.”
“ ‘Misfit livin’ is, like, when I’m kind of getting in a funk, I’m like, ‘Oh, no. What am I doing?’ ” McCarty said. “I just take my hat off, take a step back and I’m just, like, ‘Be you. Just do you. You’re a misfit on the mound, throwing underhand.’
“I’m a kid who had to throw submarine because I wasn’t good enough to throw over the top. … I’m kind of a misfit.”
His submarine delivery isn’t the only thing that sets McCarty apart. He has the build of a Mack Truck — with help from workouts he discovered on a website for bodybuilders — has been home-schooled his entire life, and bumps Christian rap music in his rusted blue Toyota Corolla, aka Bluegatti.
“It’s not very luxurious,” said senior shortstop Cooper Canton.
McCarty is The News Tribune’s 2015 All-Area baseball Player of the Year for helping South Kitsap reach the 4A state semifinals for the third consecutive year. Despite the many who told him he wouldn’t play Division. I, McCarty has signed a letter of intent with Washington State University.
He enters the state semis with a 0.76 ERA in 64 1/3 innings with 103 strikeouts, and he bats .412 with five home runs and 29 RBIs.
McCarty said he was about 10 years old when he first tried throwing submarine — all because his father, Klint McCarty, was a fan of former major leaguer Dan Quisenberry, one of the most successful submarine pitchers in history.
The first batter McCarty threw submarine to? Former teammate Tyler Ludlow, who hit it for a home run. His next pitch went behind the batter.
“I was, like, ‘I’m never throwing submarine again,’ ” McCarty said.
But overhand just isn’t McCarty, and he found success switching back.
His sophomore year was the first under current South Kitsap coach Marcus Logue, and McCarty spent that entire regular season playing on the junior varsity. Logue said McCarty was talented enough to be starting on varsity, but he didn’t want to hurt the chemistry of a senior-loaded team that eventually made it to the state championship game.
“I knew he was unhappy because he was still young, but he was really good and we knew that,” Logue said. “It wasn’t exactly the year he thought it would be.”
It almost led McCarty to quit, he said.
“We didn’t have a good relationship,” McCarty said. “I completely disagreed with being on JV.
“I did not have any fun. I always came to practice like, ‘Oh, I’m going to impress Logue today. I’m going to get pulled up.’ But I didn’t get pulled up, and it sucked.”
To worsen matters, the consensus from college coaches was that his delivery made him destined for community college ball.
It turned out to be a defining season in his playing career.
Instead of blaming Logue for his not being promoted, he took a different tack.
“I just went ‘You know what, I’m going to work as hard as I can and I’m going to get as big as I can,’ ” McCarty said.
McCarty’s mother introduced him to weights in the sixth grade (he said he could bench press 220 pounds in the eighth grade, yet looked like a sixth-grader). It took until that summer for his body to finally take to it.
McCarty said he went to bodybuilders.com, looked for the most ripped, intense-looking person he could find — which he determined was Kris Gethin — and tried some of the bodybuilder’s workouts.
Logue tried them, too. McCarty said one of the workouts included six sets of squats starting at 30 reps and working down to five, with 5-second breaks in between. The weight they used for 20 reps was then used to work their way back up from five reps to 30 reps.
“Oh, geez, Logue and I, I remember we came back the next day and I was like, ‘I can’t move. I cannot move,’ ” McCarty said. “I would do some of these workouts, like, especially the biceps and forearms, I looked like Google Maps.
“That whole summer I was so incredibly sore. Sore to no end.”
But if he could survive those workouts, how hard could any situation in a baseball game be?
“I mean, we were down 2-0 against Yelm and they got Parker McFadden (also a WSU signee, whose fastball has been clocked at 97 mph), but those workouts were harder than that,” McCarty said.
McCarty hit two home runs that game, including one off McFadden.
McCarty lives and plays with intensity. He hit a home run his first at-bat against Puyallup in the 4A West Central District championship game last week, but he was so upset when he flied out to right field the next at-bat on a curveball that hung in his zone, he wanted to yell, swear and slam his helmet.
Another inscription inside McCarty’s hat keeps him level. It reads “BGE,” which stands for Building God’s Empire.
“I looked at that and then I was like, ‘No, I can’t be (angry). I’m building God’s empire. I can’t slam my helmet. If there’s a kid watching in the stands, he doesn’t want to hear you yelling and swearing,” McCarty said. “I go back to the dugout, and I look at my hat (McCarty takes a deep breath), see that and I’m like, ‘All right, we’re good.’ ”
Logue said conversations with McCarty are more like ones he’d have with people his own age, even if McCarty is wearing a Batman T-shirt.
“His body, his mechanics and the way he swings, it totally just fits his personality,” Logue said.
“He just gets it. When it comes down to it, he’s not only one of my players, but he’s like a best friend. I couldn’t be happier with the person he’s become.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677