By Nathan Foster
Preston Howey has video game numbers. The staff ace of Arcadia High School’s baseball team won 13 games last year and lost just one.
Howey began playing baseball when he was just 4 years old. After 13 years, he has developed elite pitching skills that culminated last season in a 0.75 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP and a 4.78/1 K/BB ratio. Howey ended the season with 65 innings pitched, 86 strikeouts, and allowed just seven earned runs.
“This year, I kind of just took off. It was crazy how it happened,” Howey said. “I put in a lot more work because I knew I had to step up my game. There were a lot of good returning pitchers coming back. I knew I had to step up to try to be the best I could. I put in the work and I guess it worked out this year.”
Howey started off the season with a bang, tossing a complete game shutout with 12 strikeouts.
“That was probably one of my favorite games I’ve ever pitched,” Howey said.
Howey would go on to toss one more complete game during the season, leading the Apaches to an overall 25-2 record.
During the offseason, Howey is working on improving his strength. He currently hits around 85-87 MPH with his fastball, but he topped out at 89 MPH.
“I want to consistently hit 88-89, maybe higher,” Howey said.
While his fastball isn’t quite where he wants it to be, Howey relies more on the off-speed pitches to get hitters. He said his favorite strikeout pitch is his slider.
When asked about a pro comparison, Howey named Houston Astros’ ace Justin Verlander.
“We have a pretty similar windup,” he said.
Although Howey wants to pitch in the MLB someday, ideally for his favorite team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, he is currently focused on college. He has been in contact with different universities, but has not committed to a school yet.
When he is not playing baseball, Howey enjoys relaxing by going to the beach, hanging out with friends or listening to country music.