Closer to the show

On July 30 it will be six years since Brandon Maurer’s perfect game as an all-star for Costa Mesa National Little League. At the time, he was just a Little League pitcher and really wanted to beat the rival Costa Mesa American Little League in the annual Mayor’s Cup series. Little did he know that game would be a starting point for a career in baseball.

Another pivotal moment in Maurer’s baseball career was on June 6 of this year when he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 23rd round, 702nd overall.

The 18-year-old, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound right-hander, was given an invitation to fulfill his dream. After calling his family and friends to deliver the news, he now faced the same life changing decision many young star athletes are forced with these days: college or pros?

“I had a scholarship to Long Beach State [and] I was gonna go,” Maurer said about his decision to go pro.

However, once he got the call on draft day, the wheels started turning.

“It was all of us, the family and everyone talked about it and we decided it’s what I want to do, I want to play pro baseball,” he said. “You don’t get this chance very often.”

The decision was made easier considering the Mariners will pay for four years of college after his career is over.

The road to landing a Major League deal was fairly short for Maurer. He got his first letter from a pro team last year as a junior on the Orange Lutheran High baseball team and shortly after that he was drawing the attention of all 30 major league teams.

As his senior year progressed, he got visits from eight different organizations to his house in Costa Mesa.

“A year and a half ago no one knew who I was and now I’m drafted,” said Maurer, who helped Orange Lutheran to a 19-8 record, and a second-place finish in the Trinity League. “It all just happened so quickly.”

Maurer, who earned second-team All-Trinity League honors, hopes Seattle will prove to be a great fit for him. He seems to be in a good position to move up the through minors quickly considering the improbable state of the ball club. They plan to work him as a closer in Arizona at rookie ball and if he performs well they will slowly make him a starter.

He leaves today for Peoria.

He has been clocked at 93 mph but after a few weeks in rookie ball, he is expected to gain 20 to 30 pounds and increase his velocity by 2 to 3 mph.

With his fastball progressing, a solid slider and an improving change-up, Maurer possesses a skill set that one day could make him a Major League player.

He credits his younger days in the CMNLL with giving him the foundation to build his skill set.

“Bill Redding and Rick Campo were really good coaches,” Maurer said of his Little League days. “[They] started me off good and taught me real work ethic and how to work hard.”

Maurer also mentioned how that same work ethic will get him into the Major League.

“I think I can make it if I put the effort in,” he said. “I have to thank my mom, dad and Grandpa for always pushing me all these years.”

Being drafted and leaving Costa Mesa have certainly altered Maurer’s life. He’s hoping his next pivotal moment will be his first save as a Seattle Mariner.

MARK RATTO may be reached at (714) 966-4616.

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