Crowley is coming around, and so are D-I colleges
by Bryan Fonseca
May 16, 2017 | 2516 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PHOTO: JEFFREY ARMSTRONG
PHOTO: JEFFREY ARMSTRONG
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When you look at St. Francis Prep lefty Garrett Crowley pitch, you’d probably think he’s one of the best prospects in New York City.

And, if you made this proclamation before watching him shutdown Archbishop Molloy in a crucial late-season road game with playoff implications, your claim would be validated.

The 18-year-old pitcher has a tall build, long stride, and a fast ball that tops out at about 85 miles per hour combined with a newly developed breaking ball to draw strikeouts.

His coaches will tell you that there is room for improvement, but after initially receiving nothing higher than Division II interest, a number of Division I mid-majors now have Crowley on their radar, namely LIU Brooklyn and Hofstra, both of whom were present on May 10 when he posted eight strikeouts through five complete shutout innings in a 1-0 win.

Crowley knew he’d have some extra eyeballs on him that afternoon, which naturally made the kid excited and nervous.

“They texted me a few days before telling me that they were coming down to watch me throw,” he told this paper. “I was a little nervous, but I think I went out there and conquered my fear in a way. To see the coaches come out meant a lot to me, so I really wanted to get out there and win this game for my team.”

In detail, Crowley described the feeling as “a whirlwind,” citing all that has transpired comes as a result of hard work throughout the off-season in preparation for his senior campaign, which is now coming to close.

As for Wednesday’s win, it wasn’t perfect. Crowley got jammed up in the fourth inning, allowing a single, double and a walk right off the bat as Molloy loaded the bases with no outs.

When faced with adversity, though, Crowley drew three consecutive outs, allowing his teammates to make plays in what became a shutout effort.

The Terriers then scored a run, which proved to be all they needed, thanks in part to Crowley’s quality start.

The teenager has made a tremendous leap since moving from the bullpen to a starting role, says pitching coach Greg Modica, who arrived last January.

“When I came in here, Garrett was just a skinny kid,” said Modica. “He didn’t pitch a lot last year, but he worked hard all summer, all winter, and you could see that he’s taken the steps in the right direction.

“We started him off in the bullpen and kind of gradually built him up to let him get his confidence and fix a few things,” he added. “He’s since gone out there and gotten more consistent with his delivery. He competes and doesn’t back down from anybody.”

As it pertains to Crowley’s new found D-I spotlight, Modica, who had been working with the lefty extensively, along with head coach Brother Rob McDermott, believes that oncoming hype has been warranted.

“The first guy from LIU Brooklyn came out to watch Xavieran’s pitcher, who already committed, and they liked Crowley,” Modica said. “Then a Tampa Bay Rays talked to me about him, not because they were looking to draft him, but because he has a lot of friends that coach in college and wanted to pass his information along.

“I feel like after he pitched against Xavieran when LIU was there, he really showed a maturity that he hasn’t shown out there until now,” Modica continued. “I got on the phone, I asked him what schools he’s applied to, and I called a couple of other guys I know in the area and said ‘listen, if you’re looking for a left-handed pitcher, we have a good one.’”

Along with his fastball, Crowley mixes in a curveball and change-up, which he didn’t have in his arsenal beforehand. Modica says that Crowley’s just started throwing it for strikes, gets a good bite on the pitch, and has gotten better at using them behind the fastball.

“The addition of the breaking ball is really helping him because now guys can’t just sit on one pitch,” Modica said.

So now it’s playoff time for Crowley and St. Francis Prep, who finished (11-7) in Catholic League play. There’s a certain confidence among Prep’s players and coaches, Crowley in particular, who says that the Queens-based club has what it takes to win the championship.

“I think if we keep pitching the way we are, and if our bats spark up, then we could win it all,” he said. “We’re a good team, I believe in every single one of my teammates and what they do on the field.

“There’s so much chemistry here and we really, truly trust each other when we play,” he said. “I know that fly balls and ground outs and all of those things will be taken care of.”

As for his future, Crowley keeps it in the back of his mind with the CHSAA playoffs ahead, but he’d be lying if he said he hasn’t thought about it as the college attention has picked-up. After all, it’s his goal.

“Well, today I was really thinking about it a lot knowing that the coaches were here,” he said. “It’s one of my dreams to go Division I, and it’s finally working out, so that’s good.”
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