Just like the Major League Baseball Network, Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School junior Jextin Pugh is all baseball, all the time.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, who is a pitcher and first baseman for the Marauders and also played on the Red Bull squad in the Greater City League's AAABA Division this summer and on the Flood City Elite travel team run by the Earn Respect Athletics [ERA] Inc. organization, has pledged a year-round commitment to the sport of baseball.
And it has paid off. Pugh, 16, was recently listed as the number one prospect in his Pennsylvania high school graduating class of 2013 by Perfect Game U.S.A., the world's largest baseball scouting service. He has already drawn interest from many major college baseball programs across the country, including Arizona State, Virginia, Clemson, Florida State, San Diego State and Penn State.
"My only [sports] interest is baseball, and I consider the weight room to be my second sport in the offseason,'' Pugh said. "If I'm not playing baseball, I love to be in the gym.''
Pugh's devotion to the weights is nearly as passionate as his devotion to baseball. He squats 600 pounds and leg-presses up to 950.
"He's always been a big kid. We put him on a weight program from last year to this year, he followed it well, and he's in top shape,'' said Rick Roberts, one of the co-proprietors of the ERA organization's facilities in Altoona and Johnstown who is also Pugh's coach with the Flood City Elite travel team that competes in tournaments all over the East Coast during the summer and fall months. "Jextin is one of those kids who comes into our building every day and works hard to make himself better. He's just a great all-around kid.''
Pugh has hit six homers so far this season for the Flood City Elite squad, whose players are ages 16 and 17. A two-year starter at Bishop Guilfoyle, Pugh estimates that he has hit "12 to 15 home runs" so far in his high school career. Last season for BG, he carded a .560 batting average, and his earned run average on the pitcher's mound was an outstanding 2.45 with 46 strikeouts.
"He hits for a good average, he hits for power, and he has a tremendous arm on the mound,'' Roberts said.
Pugh said it helps his game to participate all year around.
"You don't want to stop, you don't want to slack off, you want to keep your skills up to those of the other players, so you've got to keep working hard,'' he said.